Recently, I attended a seminar on social media marketing. Of course, it was highly attended. It seems like everyone wants to get on the social media bandwagon these days.
During the course of the seminar, one of the speakers mentioned a common marketing motivation for investing in social media:
to promote your products
After all, isn't that what marketing does? Social media simply provides new mechanisms to do what marketing is supposed to do, right?
What's wrong with this use of social media?
To answer that question, it is important to understand why people invest their time in social media.
Social media is all about relationships.
Relationships aren't about products or even brands.
Relationships are about people.
Unlike marketing mechanisms of the past - advertising, direct mail, email, web sites - social media are about interaction. Sure you can use social media as broadcast mechanisms. But where is the relationship in a broadcast message?
Your blog shouldn't be about the number of posts. It should be about the number of discussions started.
Your facebook page shouldn't be about the number of fans. It should be about the real relationships developed.
Your twitter account shouldn't be about the number of mentions of your product. It should be about the number of conversations created.
Here's the Mismatch
From a marketing perspective, your use of social media shouldn't be about you.
You are missing the real opportunity of social media if your execution is you-centric.
It should be about the persons you are trying to reach.
Use social media to create new and build existing relationships. Use it to reach out to your population by finding out and talking about what is most important to them.
When you make your social media efforts all about "them", then you are developing a gold mine.