Encouragement to Anyone Who Doesn’t Understand Social Media Marketing

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Are you concerned that you don’t understand these things called “social networking” or “social media marketing”?

You are most definitely not alone.

I’m doing some study of social media marketing these days – talk about an industry that is changing rapidly! I think one could spend a few hours a day soaking up the developments and new opportunities in this area.

In the process of my study, I came across an encouraging quote from one of the authors of books on social media. In the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott says, “And remember, there is no such thing as an ‘expert’ in marketing using social networking – we’re all learning as we go!”

I almost gave a sigh of relief when I read that line. And it’s true. The subject is just too new to have solidly established authorities. There are a few people who know what they are talking about, Meerman Scott obviously among them. Along with Chris Brogan, Ann Handley, Robert Scoble, Brian Solis and others.

Definition for a New Subject

I’m looking for definitions of social media for you and I’m finding words like “overarching” and “encompasses.” Not so much. I like this definition of social media because it relates to life, not technology:

Here is a quote I like: “Social media is a shift in how we get our information. It used to be that we would wait for the paper boy to throw our news on the doorstep (or into the flowers) and we’d read the paper, front to back, with our morning coffee before going to work. Now we get information, 24/7 and on the fly, from anywhere. In the more traditional senses, online, on our phones, and through the social platforms [like Facebook, LikedIn, MySpace and others]. Social media allows us to network, to find people with like interests, and to meet people who can become friends or customers. It flattens out the world and gives us access to people we never would have been able to meet otherwise.” Arment Dietrich

Social media is about interaction. When you meet a friend in a restaurant, you interact with him (or her). You talk about your car repair, a great concert you went to, a new restaurant in your neighborhood. He talks about his vacation, his kids’ school and his plans to open a small business. Social media is just the same, it’s just online. People talk, people share.

The Difference Between Marketing and Social Media Marketing

There is a fundamental shift in the way you use social media for marketing purposes. Your job now is to engage people, create opportunities for interaction, invite people to respond, vote, review, and to express themselves.

Marketing in the social media world no longer consists of that one-way flow we’ve all grown up with: “Here’s my ad, read it.” This new marketing involves giving people a reason to be interested in your products, your news and your articles. You are building a community of loyal fans by engaging them and giving them content that they appreciate. You’ll have to get over the idea that it’s about advertising in this venue. Sure, some people are still pushing ads into the social media environment, but the most successful social media marketers are creating interested communities. And then when they need something that you sell – well – you’re already friends, aren’t you? Who are they going to call?

Morgan Fagerman