It is Time to Drop Social Media … Long Live Social Marketing

Social media is dead. Time and time again, we see social media efforts fail because people start out by putting up a Facebook page, starting a Twitter account, and most recently launching a Pinterest board up and running.

The reason why social media is dead is because a business strategy should NOT be based around a channel strategy. Recognize that social platforms are merely channels.

Social marketing is the future! A couple weeks ago I wrote an article “Social by Design.” In it I stressed the importance of starting a strategy by thinking about ways others would share your brand. Determining this from the very beginning as opposed to attaching social elements after your marketing strategy had been set. Today, I’ll take this mentality one step further.

Your business and its success are determined by your target market, your potential customers, and your existing customers. That said, you must have a strategy, organization, program, execution, and support all designed around your targets. Social marketing consists of:

1) a complete understanding of your target market gained from in-depth analysis and customer insights
2) documented description of the target market’s behaviors, motivations, turn offs, influencers, and inputs for purchase decisions and ongoing brand loyalty
3) stated value proposition of the brand as it specifically relates to your target market
4) two-way communication strategy that addresses the target audience as detailed in customer insights, overlaid with brand position resulting in “hook” to attract new customers, motivate purchase decisions, AND maintain ongoing brand loyalty
5) content and engagement strategy
6) integrated media plan
7) communication and interaction plan based upon psycho-demographics (seeking A-Path stages – Attention, Attraction, Affinity, Audience, Advocacy)
8) post-sale ongoing customer support
9) loyalty plan
10) word-of-mouth plan
11) advocacy plan
12) metrics for success

The customer is at the core and EVERYTHING in social marketing focuses on the customer. Social marketing is NOT initiatives to drive sales. Social marketing IS a set of activities to drive customer action. Customer action is far grander than just sales. Recognize there are numerous customer actions inclusive in pre-sales and post-sales. Social marketing objectives aim at optimizing these actions to create ongoing passing of positive brand information, stories, recommendations, and referrals such that word-of-mouth marketing is executed by trusted sources.

If you accept that social marketing is a must for your business as opposed to thinking from a social media (channel) mentality, two ramifications should be apparent:

– Social marketing does not belong in marketing. Traditionally, marketing has focused on sales initiatives. As outlined above, social marketing includes much more than creating sales buzz. It is an ongoing journey with customers post-sales including customer service/service. A new customer-centric organization must be formed.

– Social marketing takes into consideration brand communication AND sharing/word-of-mouth motivation. Brands need to take the initiative of producing content and reaching out to influencers to gain earned media. But additional work must be done. Plan and determine how brand content and brand earned media get shared as positive word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals. Recognize that brand suggestions from objective sources are most powerful and yield greater customer action than suggestions and advertisement from the company and people behind the brand.

The differences between social media and social marketing are not a simple twist on words. The difference is a distinct cognitive approach. Social marketing is imperative to your business success.

Make It Happen,
Social Steve



Filed under social marketing, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

10 responses to “It is Time to Drop Social Media … Long Live Social Marketing

  1. Great post Steve! In your experience has social media been better handled by the marketing team or the PR team?

  2. Great read as ever Steve, so vital that it works with your marketing and not ‘as’ your marketing.

  3. Awesome article on social media and social marketing. You are absolutely right that for any business to grow the focus should be on social marketing and all 12 points that you mentioned are relevant in that context. On the other hand no matter how many likes you have, there is no any guarantee that you will get the leads or the potential customers for your business. So the focus has to be the target market, potential and existing customers with a perfect strategy.

    Web Start Today

  4. Great post. What some people still fail to realize is that social marketing is more of an indirect way to market–as results from social means are not as tangible as traditional marketing methods. It is very important to drive customer action. Thanks!

    -Patricia Pham, TheLoop Global Marketing Team

  5. My favorite statements here – Social marketing is NOT initiatives to drive sales. Social marketing IS a set of activities to drive customer action.

    I believe in the statements. However, I am discovering it can be difficult for a smaller company…that previously did zero marketing and where a lot of work comes through referrals and recurring engagements…to adapt to this way of thinking. It definitely requires a “long-view” approach.

    I’ll keep you posted on the results!

    • Maybe it would help for smaller companies not to think about it as social marketing, but maybe just socializing with their target market. Some of this social should be online as well as offline.

      Brian – Always appreciate your perspective and insights.


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