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Owning the space

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In today’s society [so begin so many blog posts, books, articles, and my student’s dissertation and thesis], there is emphasis on the exciting and exhilarating opportunities of social media. Especially the success for marketing and marketers. What is worrying is the lack of time and planning, and then real investment, both financial and intellectual, paid to the considerations about quality content, referral, practical viability, expertise and ability.

You do not need to be a marketer to have had pushy sales messages broadcast to you via social medium.  Generally the focus here is as a surface indicator of product or service and brand visibility. That tokenistic appearance of a brand in a Newsfeed or on a Twitter Page, suggests a positive endorsement thereby accelerating sales and consumer reach.

Social media is a triumph of empty space. These tools combine the social aspect of the consumer whilst providing medium to develop networks and ‘impressive’ numbers of Friends and Followers. There are numerous articles on ‘how to be a success at social media’ and ‘marketing’.  This post, however, is concerned to provide a proper steer in indicating some specific solutions to certain contemporary phenomena that responds to the digital spread of consumers.

Working with the full range of commercial companies and notforprofit organisations, we can trace what I like to refer to as the spiral development of social media marketing. To take advantage of this trend include the following:

1. Lead with an emphasis on positioning your goods and services, and establishing your status on one social platform

2. Be prepared to respond to escalating ambitions and expectations of consumers in real time [case study, Nestle];

3. Once established with a high proportion of Likes/Followers/Viewers etc. escalate your image with new projects, campaigns and visibility across a range of social platforms;

4. Back up your presence in the form of well-prepared representations – social events, images, video, text etc. that can be shown off;

5. Finally, provide uplifting symbolism that sets you apart from your competitors, and reinforces your connection to your customers.

The above is intended as a guide to laying out the initial stock of product and brand presence across the full range of social medium. Note that these five points are linked to the living standards of the population and their ownership and access to digital technology. Status and the relative value of marketing positioning are not easily given factors on social media, these are subject to the fickle demands of consumers and even more fickle and ever-evolving nature of the platforms.


About the author

Mariann Hardey

author_template - Mariann Hardey Mariann is programme director and a lecturer in marketing at Durham University Business School. She is a social media professional and academic and the BBC North East commentator for social media and digital networks.  In her work Mariann seeks to identify and understand how real social relationships are mediated through digital social networks and Web 2.0 applications.

Follow Mariann via Twitter @thatdrmaz or visit and

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