Direct Marketing on the Internet

April 2, 2010 -- © 2010 Right Results Consulting LLC

Charles on Social Marketing

You may have heard that Social Marketing is all the rage right now. But, the truth is that:

Marketing has always had and will likely continue
to have important social aspects. 

The difference between two years ago and now is that dozens of experiments in new kinds of websites, the so-called "Social Marketing" websites, have had some time to evolve. 

Social Marketing IS NOT ABOUT using a
Social Marketing website!

Current web site technologies only facilitate Social Marketing. They don't do any social marketing for you.  A person is the only one who can do social marketing because social marketing takes place only on a "one person to one person" level.

Social Marketing IS ABOUT asking for and receiving information from another person that you trust.

Even now, some markets don't seem to have much need for the social aspect of marketing. For example, how do you decide what kind of soap to buy? I doubt that there are many people who actually feel the need to ask for advice on this. Therefore, in the market for soap, social marketing would seem to be almost non-existent. 

  • Social Marketing is about PERSON TO PERSON contact. 
  • It is why so many marketers and sales persons visit their prospects in person.
  • With the appearance of "Social Marketing" web sites, there exists the POTENTIAL for doing MORE of this social contact online. 
  • For Marketing to qualify as Social Marketing,
    it must contain person to person contact!

There are quite a few bloggers and article writers that simply waste your time and attention when they suggest all of the different ways that one COULD use a social marketing web site.  Just because one CAN do a particular marketing activity doesn't mean it's a good idea.

One of the worst suggestions I've heard recently is to setup a company account on a "Social Marketing" web site using the company name for the account name. This account would be used by multiple people to post news about new products, company events, etc.  This is not "Social Marketing" because the result is to create a non-personal channel. I'm not saying that this can never work for a company, but it's just not very likely in a community of people interested in personal contact.

If there is no person to interact with, it isn't social. 

A "company" account on a Social Marketing site, for example, on "Twitter", is just one more one-way marketing channel. And, the community is more likely to ignore it than to pay attention. I remain unconvinced that this kind of effort has any better effectiveness than TV commercials.  However, if you make it one-person to one-person contact on "Twitter", that's another story BECAUSE THAT IS Social Marketing.

Social Marketing is a person to person two-way process.

If I want blasts of information about a company's products, I can subscribe to the company's mailing lists, or search their web site, or read their press releases. There are all kinds of well established non-personal, non-social, one-way channels to get information about a company's products.  Frankly, I do think that some of these may be more efficient than social marketing in certain markets. Social marketing has its place where one person seeks advice from another person they trust.

The kind of marketing which will be 
most cost efficient
depends on your market.

Charles Knell
A.K.A. Charles KnNell

April 2, 2010 -- © 2010 Right Results Consulting LLC

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