When I tell people that I’m starting a company that studies and implements social media marketing, many people respond by telling me that it sounds interesting, but that technology isn’t their thing. This is a misconception. A successful social media marketer is someone who understands the nuances of the current cultural landscape.
Social media marketing is very similar to word of mouth marketing, but with a few differences. With both marketing strategies, marketers must find out how to fit their brand into the day-to-day interactions that people have. Word of mouth is more about face-to-face interactions, which is more genuine and effective; marketers must focus on their brand evangelists, the people who are constantly promoting their brand for them. In social media marketing, the depth of each interaction and the loyalty of the brand evangelists are both less, but the speed in which something can spread is tenfold that of traditional word of mouth marketing.
What’s most important in social media marketing is understanding how and why people use social networking sites. Understanding UI/UX design, programming code, database structures, analytics, and technology is a big competitive advantage, but not a necessity. It’s more important that you can answer questions like, “what types of links do people share with each other, and why?”, “what time of the day are people on social networking sites, and why?”, and “who is most likely to share my content, and why?”
Because the two marketing strategies are so similar, the effect is multiplied when both are put into place. This is when you have to start understanding the big questions like, “how has social networking sites affected people’s lives offline?”, “what is the public (or niche) perception of people who use social networking sites?”, and “how conscious are people of how the information they share online affects their overall reputation?”
When I’m analyzing social media marketing strategies, I’m spending my time trying to understand people, culture, and society. Not technology. That’s all I’m saying.
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