Reading Up on Social Media Marketing’s Next Chapter
Some days it feels like the universe is trying to tell you something. Today that something was that social media marketing (SMM) is the future, and yet, it is not what professional marketers might traditionally expect. Here are four lessons I learned today that advanced my understanding of SMM on the Web today:
- The recession of the public relations industry is lifting — as long as you’re making use of social media.
- If your organization is not active in social media marketing, you’re missing major opportunities.
- Social media marketing shouldn’t be treated like a separate marketing silo — it should be interwoven throughout an organization.
- The bar has been raised since social media was first used for marketing. Organizations need to graduate to a mature model of social media to truly take advantage of it.
If any of the above points whet your appetite, grab a fork and let’s dig in!
Marketing Recession is Over for Those Who’ve Evolved
Certainly the economic recession hit most industries in the last year, and marketing didn’t escape unscathed. But now that recovery is underway, businesses are ready to grow instead of simply trying to survive. That means the marketing industry is in a position to grow, for the very reason that marketing efforts help businesses grow. However, marketing has come out on the other side of the economic storm a changed being. What else could have affected such a change but social media?
Social media was around before the recession hit, but in the past 12 months social networks and sites have exploded and become a dominant media force. In the evolve-or-die business environment, only the strongest survive. It’s time to start building that social media muscle.
What You Could Miss If You’re Not Socially Involved
But what, one might ask, can a business gain from social media marketing? The following are just a few examples of what can be gained from Twitter engagement. They are highlights from the laundry list outlined in What If I Didn’t Use Twitter. The promise of Twitter includes:
- A network of brand evangelists (though remember that building relationships takes time)
- A platform for sharing site content
- Interaction and relationship building between other experts in your industry
- Business relationships that result in revenue!
- Recognition for expressing your passion and expertise
SMM Involvement Should be Present Across an Organization
If you’re familiar with the benefits and challenges of social media marketing, you may already be involved in or are planning your entry into the social media space. In that case, you should be aware of how social media marketing is different than traditional or even other Internet marketing channels. Unlike other marketing efforts, social media shouldn’t be relegated to a single team or department within your organization. Social media should be considered a “cross-discipline” undertaking.
Social media is more of a frame of mind than a series of tasks to accomplish. Social media can be a tool used for customer response, consumer research, promotions and incentives, and getting attention for just about any launch or announcement. For a business, social media encompasses transparency, speedy customer service, and a megaphone. Restricting social media efforts so that they don’t reach across an organization is restricting the potential effectiveness and opportunities of social platform.
SMM is Shifting Toward Non-Automation and Local Relevance
As I mentioned before, the rules of marketing have changed in the past year, in light of social media and social networks. Not only that, but the rules of social media marketing have evolved as well. In 5 Ways We Could Improve Social Media Together, we find concrete ways to improve your SMM efforts to meet the changing expectations of social media users. So what should businesses be doing with social media?
- Limit automation in favor of human participation.
- Only promote content that’s worthy.
- Have realistic expectations. Social media is a tool, not a magic wand.
- Tear down the wall of overly protective corporate speak and be real.
- Take advantage of the local aspect of social media.
One of the trickier characteristics of social media is that it will continue to change, and users and businesses will adapt to the change in order to use it to its full potential. It’s true that social media requires continuous time and resources, but the alternative is letting your business be left behind.