What is Social Media Marketing?
That’s a stupid question, you say. Of course I know what social media marketing is. It’s marketing on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
But, you’d be WRONG!
Social networks are simply CHANNELS for marketing your brand. Sure, they look different on the surface, but underneath, they’re just channels like TV or radio.
Try pushing messages in social networks, however, and you find out just how different this channel is.
So, maybe the best way to answer the question: What is social media marketing? is to determine what it is NOT.
1. Social Media Marketing is NOT Advertising
If you’re sending your advertising through social networks, you’re probably doing yourself a lot of harm. Users find such disruptive advertising in social networks offensive. Not only are such efforts a waste of time, they can damage your reputation or leave you open to ridicule that can spread like a wildfire through social networks.
2. Social Media Marketing is NOT About YOU
No one really cares about you, except maybe your mother. So, quit talking about yourself in social networks. Instead, think like an entertainer or newscaster. Think like a coach or teacher. People are on social networks for what they GET out of them, not what they put in.
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3. Social Media Marketing is NOT Technology.
Sure, social networks are online, so a certain element of technology is important. You also need to understand how various social networks work, especially how sharing occurs on the network, but most of the really technical stuff can be hired out cheap. Understanding consumer behavior and developing a cogent strategy based on this understanding is what creates success in social media marketing, NOT technology.
4. Social Media Marketing is NOT just kids.
Consumers from all generations use social media marketing — as a matter of fact, the fastest growing group on Facebook are baby boomers and the most influential sharers are middle-aged women.
Social media is also not just white folks — or just US. Social media is very diverse; consisting of both genders, folks all over the world, and from various ethnic groups.
5. Social Media Marketing is NOT one size fits all.
While it’s tempting to just send the same content over all your social media properties and for every company to use the same social media networks, it’s not that simple.
For instance, images and videos are shared more frequently on Facebook, while links are shared more on Twitter. Pinterest works really well for clothing and accessories, but may be a terrible fit for an insurance or security broker.
Think about your target audience. Where do they spend their time? What are they looking for?
Just Get Out There and Do it on Social Media
Social media isn’t a place to just post stuff and hope something good happens. I heard an exec from a major corporation speak at the Facebook Marketing Conference say the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard — and I’ve heard some stupid things over the years. He said
just turn your social media off to some young employee. I don’t understand that stuff.
Well, that’s crazy. Does he think every 20 something is born knowing how to do social media marketing? Having just taught a class of 50 20-somethings at a prestigious university, I can tell you they are at least as clueless as the exec. And, worse, they think they know how to do social media marketing because they use Facebook and Twitter with their friends.
It’s vastly different to manage a brand in social media than to share your graduation pictures or put together a flash mob.
Not only is communication different in managing a brand on social media, but your objectives are different. And, hopefully, your actions are more strategic — requiring structured planning rather than a whimsical notion.
Now, what is social media marketing?
We’ve discussed what social media marketing is NOT. Next post we’ll more directly answer the question: What is social media marketing?