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Please stop using the term Social Media Marketing!

Published on 8th April 2011

If I hear it one more time I won’t be responsible for my actions.

Can we call it “social influencing” or “social relationship development” or “creating a rapport through social interaction”?  I know none of these make good buzz phrases but they are all a better description.

I’m going to say it… Social Media is NOT a sales and marketing tool.

I can almost her my business going bankrupt but it had to be said. If you approach social media with this in mind you will fail. You might get some results initially but people will soon get bored with you selling to them and  just tune you out or turn you off, it’s very easy.

The social media platforms out there are called social for a reason. The utilisation of these different channels for overt sales and marketing purposes will backfire. These very powerful tools should be used to inform, delight, titillate, entice, fascinate, engage, elicit responses, and entertain. In turn this will build your reputation, create trust, add relevance, create positive feelings, get users engaged with your brand, and ultimately create a propensity to buy within your potential and current customers.

When we are talking with our friends how would we feel if a salesman butted in?

So how do you achieve this balance?

In theory it’s simple, in practice it’s much harder.

In theory you offer articles, insights, advice, fun stuff, real offers, and useful snippets to your audience. These must add value to their lives by saving time, making them look good, saving them money, making them aware of something they may be interested in, anything that asks for nothing in return but adds value.

You can see why I say this is hard to do.  There is plenty of stuff out there and you will probably have a lot of collateral in house you can use for this, the hard bit is finding it and making time to get it out there.

My father told me a very long time ago that “in life you get back about 80% of what you give”, and he was bang on. He was always far wiser than me, so think about this as you plan your campaigns.

Advertising on social media and even mobile feels to me like a bit of a gold rush. If it’s done bearing in mind the golden rule “it must be fun or interesting, not sell, and be pretty much free” then great.  But this isn’t sales or marketing; it’s building relationships, trust and rapport, and here’s where we came in.

Categories: Online Reputation, Social Media

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