A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

The Jungle Map, your guide through internet marketing

Using Social Media is not Social Media MARKETING

May 8th, 2009

I have a bunch of friends and colleagues that work with social media, especially in the Charlotte area.  I greatly appreciate all their comments and forward thinking.  I have nothing against social media and use it daily myself.

However, just using social media does not make money.

I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, but it’s true.  Using social media is like using search engines.  It does not make you a consultant, trainer, or expert.  It simply makes you a user.

It seems more obvious when it comes to search engines, but for some reason people that use social media a lot seem to think they can charge money to show companies how to do what they do.

In contrast, there IS a great need for social media MARKETING.  That third word is the key.  With search engines, we use the paid placements and “natural” rankings to get more money, more clients, more positive attention, or whatever other goal is desired.  We also do this for clients.  Businesses pay for marketing.

Social media marketing has a similar potential, and maybe even more.  But this is very different than just using social media.  It is about getting results.  Lots of followers isn’t results.  Getting the right people to not just follow you but to take some sort of action is.

What really makes social media cool is that it can be used for more than just marketing.  It can be used for customer relations, public relations, and more.

But the part that excites me (and I think will excite most businesses) is the potential for social media MARKETING.  For years now, marketers have been learning how to use paid methods and organic methods to market themselves and/or their clients.

Similar to search, social media marketing has paid opportunities (think Facebook ads for example) and “organic” methods to get natural (free) attention.

I know that life is not just about money.  But if you do want to make money, it’s time to look beyond being a social media user and becoming a social media marketer.

There’s a big difference in my book.

  • Lisa Barnett

    Great post.

    I was wondering, wouldn’t it be marketing to potential clients. The more you use social media, the more you keep people remembering you. I know that when I am ready to learn more about SEO, I’m coming to you. I follow you on Twitter and FaceBook and I remember you and what you do from your posts. (It doesn’t hurt that I met you at Charlotte Word Camp).

    My point is this, using social media effectively can bring about contacts and relationships which will improve your business or business relationships.

    I don’t feel just anybody can be an effective social media user. I know that I for one use it at a very low level of effectiveness and could benefit from those that have more insight to this type of marketing. The problem I feel is that it should be me doing it. I think social media should be very personable so that the followers are feeling a stronger connection by “following” you.

  • I agree with determining tangible goals before any business jumps into any campaign, especially those involving time and money. Social media is fraught with danger here because the level of activity and general public interaction gives the illusion of success. Unless goals have been determined and are being achieved, you could very easily be wasting your time.

    To emphasize your point on marketing uses, I believe one of the strengths of social media is demand generation. In the SEM world we are able to tap existing demand, but with social media you can light fires. You must have products and services that fit the marketplace (B2C), but we have only begun to scratch the surface of this potential.

    Another great strength of social media is the ability to establish a person or a firm as a though leader on selected “topic A” at much more rapid pace and lower cost than was previously possible. This expertise building increases B2B and B2C considering the expert in their buying process.

    I agree with the emerging concept of Facebook and Twitter as “mediums” much like the search engines. Their ultimate value will be as vehicles to destinations and not as the destinations themselves. Understanding and tapping this potential will be of significant value to any company’s web strategy.

  • Corey – totally agree with you here. I use social media personally, but don’t offer social media marketing as a service b/c I don’t know anything more about it than anyone else. I see lots of SEO consultants adding it on as a service b/c there is demand for it. In some cases they are qualified and have a great offering. In my case I choose to stick to what I know! We’re starting to play with social media marketing a bit to learn more about it, but right now its just a supplement to SEO for us, and not something we are providing as a service to clients.

  • Corey, as you and I have discussed, social media and search do indeed have a lot in common–namely, the goal of increasing awareness and driving traffic to a primary destination (i.e., your website or a blog). The use of social media for marketing (and let’s face it, sales) is still relatively new. There are certainly faux pas to avoid, but now is a good time to learn and experiment. Adding social media to your overall marketing mix can accelerate thought leadership (as Darryl points out), connect like-minded audiences faster and entice people to take action. Ultimately, as Lisa says, sales are really driven by relationships. Keeping that in mind hopefully will help people avoid polluting social media with one-way spam.

    Nice job with the post.

  • Hey Corey,
    Man I gotta admit – I was a little surprised to see this post from you. lol In fact, even in that mountain of info I sent you the other week, I edited out the “social media SUCKS for making money” comment because I thought it might be hurtful!

    I think one of the most profound things you said was at our recent SEO meetup, and was actually something one of my friends had said when we had a conversation about this – it’s that social media is one of these deals where as soon as you stop using it, results stop coming in. Search is one of those deals where you can get residual traffic from your effort, and the folks are just in a totally different mindstate because they’re actively LOOKING for your solution.

    What’s funny is that I’ve had a “draft” loaded up on my blog for about 2 months now – kind of a rant against what’s going on with a lot of “social media experts” and also Madison Avenue style advertising, because I see a lot of commonality between the two, but have never posted it because I know there’s some folks in our area who really like their social media and I was on the edge about whether to risk offending them. lol

    Good post . . .

  • “It does not make you a consultant, trainer, or expert. It simply makes you a …..user.”

    You summed it up really well!

    Even my dog is a SEO expert: http://toonsays.com/h7et5d_16

  • Corey – I couldn’t have said it better. I’m looking forward to your own upcoming class and SocialFresh in August – maybe THEN I’ll be able to call myself a Social media MARKETER!

  • Pingback: Why Businesses Don’t Love Twitter - Like You Do!()