Dissecting Social – Social Media, Social Marketing, Social Business

You’ve heard this before … there is so much talk and hype and just a bit of reality with regards to social. Oh, and yes, there is no shortage of people claiming to be experts in this social thing. But what is social with respect to business and marketing? Actually, it is a number of different classifications, each with distinct purpose, use, and opportunities.

Social can be broken into three categories: social media, social marketing and social business.

First, social media … social media is technological innovations that have allowed substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and individuals. Social media is virtual communities and networks that provide the vehicle for users to create, share, and exchange content, comments, and recommendations. They employ both mobile and web-based technologies to create high interactive communications amongst users. Social media digital technologies allow:

• existing friends to communicate,
• people with common wants, needs, and interests to connect and communicate, and
• “brands” to engage with prospects and customers

From a business perspective it is important to recognize that social media is an enabler … you still need a strategy, plan, and appropriate execution in order for it to turn dividends. Social media can be used by businesses for both short-term and long-term endeavors. Short-term uses include promotion (coupons, sweepstakes, announcements), digital ads (on social platforms), and commerce (eCommerce, social commerce). You should view these activities in the same vein as digital marketing that seeks to promote consumer action. Social media is mediocre for short-term results.

Social media is much better for long-term relationship building and brand preference. Think of long-term use of social media as brand marketing or social marketing. There is definite motivation for having a long-term commitment to social market. As I state in most of my presentations, “engaged customers spend 30% more” (Bain and Company) and there is “71% likelihood of purchase when referred by social media” (Hubspot).

Social marketing is the strategy, plans, execution, and measurement to yield two-way brand communication and engagement and word-of-mouth referrals via social media channels.

Social marketing aims to build brand awareness, increase consideration of purchase, strengthen customer loyalty, and produce brand advocacy. Ultimately social marketing builds strong relationships and creates brand preference. Social marketing motivates not only communication and engagement between brand and user but also between people talking about the brand.

Companies need to move beyond social media and have a social marketing strategy because people use social platforms as a natural way of life now. Nearly 1/2 of the US population is social network users.

Social Network Users
Source: eMarketer, Feb 2012; confirmed and republished, Aug 2012

So why would people follow brands? The most likely reasons are presented below:

Why People Follow Brands
Source: Burst Media, “Let’s Get Social: Web User Preferences, Habits and Actions in Spring 2012, June 28, 2012

Successful brand social marketing means people love your content and many come to view it. They actively share it with their network, and many people talk about the brand and brand content and reference it. Brands not only need to engage with their audience, but they also must provoke social sharing. Social sharing is the act of putting content on the internet for people to consume. Social sharing should not be confused with the platforms and apps that enable social sharing (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest).

Social marketing must yield measurable results; specifically awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy.

Social marketing requires commitment and continuous effort. Brands should think about being a resource for finding, educating, connecting and engaging with purchasers at every stage from consumer to shopper to advocate. It starts with customer insights and empathy for the audience. Once this is in place, brands should have continuous and meaningful engagement. The ultimate goal is to drive continuous social interaction around the brand (earned/social media).

Some companies are evolving beyond social media and social marketing and are truly a social business. Social business is about moving past social media tools to embrace new models of working that tap into the collective intelligence of an organization and its networks. Social business is the combination of spontaneous collaboration, powerful analytics, and deep CRM insights. Companies that are adopting social business recognize the opportunities to devise new models for profitability and growth.

Social business will become more and more imperative. 88% of Global CEOS say that getting closer to the customer is their number one strategic goal. (IBM Global CEO Study) Also noteworthy, outperforming companies are 30% more likely to identify greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation as a key influence on their organization. (IBM CHRO Study)

The steps to building a social business are as follows:
1) Online listening and reactive responses.
2) Social marketing to accomplish mass engagement using new one-to-many channels.
3) Use of social CRM to execute data driven engagement and build 1:1 relationships.
4) Use first three steps to build a social business integrating strategy and business model built on networks and relationships.

So know the differences between social media, social marketing, and social business. Start by having a social marketing strategy and then move to becoming a social business. This will take time. Recognize that social media is only the enabler. Have a commitment and plan in place to evolve socially.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve



Filed under brand marketing, brands, social business, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia

5 responses to “Dissecting Social – Social Media, Social Marketing, Social Business

  1. Jim Matorin

    I like this Steve. Concise. Two thoughts: 1.) To be a social business, a company has to build a culture that embraces getting closer to the customer in all departments. No silos is you are going to be a leading a social business. 2.) I add one other element to being a social business. Retro-innovation the subject of a recent post. Top management needs to get out and do some good old fashion face time with key customers. We are losing that element in today’s world. Relying too heavily on our digital world.

  2. Steve, this is an excellent baseline, and should become axiomatic. One additional thought on your point: “[social marketing] starts with customer insights and empathy for the audience.” Seems to me that is where ALL marketing starts. And, if all marketing starts with insight and understanding of the customer, then by proof-theorem-logic, “social marketing” starts with solid marketing fundamentals, in general (value-based positioning, customer-centric messaging, brand development, and so on…).

  3. Steve, you really are social. I was looking for the best explanations about the three terms – social media, social marketing and social business – and this came up. Nothing could ever be more powerful these days other than being social. Proper implementation to a business’s strategy could also make it all better. How would you see these practices 3 years from now, then?

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