Social media marketing (SMM) is no longer the next shiny ball.
When executed correctly, social media marketing is a valid way for companies to augment or even replace their traditional outbound and advertising approaches. SMM involves less costly inbound activities that create interactions and foster trust with customers. Through SMM, companies are able to authentically and directly interact on the customer's terms during their normal course of action.
History Lesson: Learn from Previous Experience
The last wave of marketing disruption caused by technology was 8-10 years ago when the interactive marketing role was introduced to infuse transaction-based effort to a conversation. From search to email, marketers were chasing ways to reinvent their approach to solve old problems. The trend has been the same with SMM as experimentation and trials are proving out which practices are working and successful in influencing interest, awareness, trial/capture, purchase and loyalty behaviors.
Interactive marketing features “the ability to address an individual and the ability to gather and remember the response of that individual” leading to “the ability to address the individual once more in a way that takes into account his or her unique response.” (John Deighton, Harvard Business Review)
Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it across their social networks. The resulting electronic word of mouth (eWoM) refers to any statement consumers share via the Internet (e.g., web sites, social networks, instant messages, news feeds) about an event, product, service, brand or company. When the underlying message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself, this form of marketing results in earned media rather than paid media. (Wikipedia)
Take Away: Infuse Competencies in All Marketers
The plethora of roles who own SMM range from Chief Digital Officer to the Head of Commerce to Chief Marketing Technologist or even the next appellation, Alliance Technologist.
Marketers need to be perpetual students of their craft and continue to improve their marketing and technology competencies.
Know your customers' behavior on social media channels and remember that they have short attention spans.
Share the social spotlight with your customers and others including influencers to amplify your storytelling.