I often interchange terms like “social media marketing,” “interactive marketing,” “online marketing,” “digital marketing” and simply “social marketing.” This is intentional and has had the effect for which I hoped: it has inspired discussion about what these terms mean. Why is it that I want to trigger this discussion? Because social media is a revolutionary change in how people communicate, yet we treat it as if it’s just a place to share meaningless things like what someone had for lunch. The fact is, social media is often marginalized as being just a few social channels. This causes us as a society to look at it as a small, maybe even insignificant thing. And the fact is, social media is a big thing, a huge thing–a monumental thing. When I speak about social media (which I do often), regardless of what the topic is, I talk about the social media revolution. I tell my audience why social media matters and why each and every one of them is social. I also tell them even though they are older (my audiences are typically professionals who are leaders in their fields and often over age 40), they are much more social than the young “whipper snappers” they assume know it all–even if they have never used a “social media” channel. Yes–it’s true! You are more social than your 16, 18, 20+ year-old child, grandchild or intern. I guarantee it. Why do I talk about the social media revolution all the time every place and every time I speak? It’s because as a society, we are marginalizing social media and boxing it off as this thing young people do for fun or a place to share pictures. In reality, social media is so much more. I have found that most people, even marketing professionals have not fully grasped the bigger picture of social media and if you don’t see the big picture how can you invest in social media today? So this conversation is relevant no matter who you are.
Social media is more than you think
Let’s go back to the terms “social media marketing,” “interactive marketing,” “online marketing,” “digital marketing” and “social marketing.” All these crazy phrases–why do I interchange them and mix them into my conversation about social media? Because if it’s online, chances are it is social. If you are utilizing online technology for the purpose of connecting with other people (whatever the reason) you are indeed using “social media.” We have unfortunately pigeon-holed social media into this small part of online technology, instead of looking at it as an ever-widening, encompassing aspect of everything online. So what are some examples, besides the regular Twitter and Facebook? Email, blogs (content marketing), every social media channel you can imagine, Google, Amazon, Trip Advisor and more are all different places you go to look for others to give you information (online reviews are social). The internet is quickly transforming to a place where it is entirely social.
Being a part of the social media revolution
Yet social media is being looked at as replaceable, when it’s actually transformational. Social media is the BIGGEST communications change to happen EVER in our history–bigger than the telegraph, bigger than the telephone, bigger than email–social media is massive, and yet we tend to look at it as it’s this optional part of marketing we can look into if we have extra time. Wake up! It’s not optional. It’s essential, and if you are not learning to leverage it as a major part of your marketing, that’s a mistake. And by leverage, I don’t mean just tweet a bit and perhaps post some stuff to Facebook. I mean build communities with purpose, build lead generation that works, figure out how to bring people from just followers to customers. All of this requires an investment in time and resources, and also in a belief of what the future holds in terms of communications. Right now as a society we are behind the technology, and we are inside a revolution. We can’t see that we are deep inside a revolution because we are living it as it happens. In a revolution, there are winners and losers and many casualties. The casualties in this revolution will be numerous: people who don’t get the best job opportunities because they are not social, companies that go out of business because they didn’t get social and entrepreneurs whose ideas will never launch because they didn’t think social was that important…and there will be so many more casualties than I am listing. Empower yourself. It’s in front of you, you are inside it–there is no choice. The social media revolution is happening and you need to get social now. So you don’t get left behind, sign up for my blog below to receive updates and find out everything you need to get social. – Photo Credit: Chris Potter