Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Social media is not about free advertising!

Ask heads of marketing if they use social media as part of their marketing strategy, and I bet you 9 out of 10 will say yes.

The question is how many really get social media.

If you're like me, you are a member in several groups on LinkedIn, you're on Facebook (although if you're like me, you rarely use it nowadays), you're on Twitter, you're on Quora. Now think about LinkedIn groups. Although I haven't done any formal analysis, it seems like the vast majority of posts on these groups are either people selling or people recruiting. Genuine value-adding discussions are rare. They are rare on most social networks and it ain't getting better. Why? Because we marketers jumped on the opportunity to reach highly targeted audiences. And hey, it's free.

But social media is not about free advertising space.

Those who use it merely for promoting their products or upcoming events are not really getting the true essence of social media. It is all about interaction. It is about sharing knowledge, helping others, entertaining. This is the reason why you need subject matter experts to get active in your company's social media outreach.

Unless you're selling to marketers, if you have the word "marketing" in your title, you should probably stay away and let the experts engage with the community.