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Social Media is Not a Marketing Tool; It Is a Way of Life

Posted by on March 20, 2008

Man with megaphone pictureMarketers are getting so excited over the emergence of this new marketing tool (or medium) known as social media. All marketers have to do is join Youtube, Digg, and Twitter; add a bunch of friends, and start shoveling content at them…right? Wrong, on several accounts; first, social media is not a marketing “tool” at all; it is a way of life. Second, adding friends and shoveling content at them is almost a guaranteed failure.

If I had a megaphone and started running around the streets shouting at people trying to convince them to buy my products, would they? Of course not. Why? Because I cannot interrupt people that I do not know, to sell them a product that they probably do not want. Marketers are using social media as their megaphones. They are yelling at people, trying to interrupt them and convince them to buy a product that they probably do not want.

If however, I were to approach people on the street one by one and engage them in a conversation to find out what their general preferences are, then I would have a much better chance of selling them one of my products. Why? Because I am building a relationship with them, and that is what social media is all about, relationships.

So what is all this mumbo jumbo about social media being a way of life? Well social media profiles are extensions of physical people. Profiles are designed so that you can learn about a person based on the information they have filled out. When people are not out and about, they are online interacting with one another through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. Your social media profile IS YOU. It has your picture, your interests, and even a list of your friends.

The most effective marketing is relationship marketing. Engage your customer base in a conversation and only then can you begin marketing your products. If you engage them with marketing pitches and advertisements too soon, then they delete you from their friends list and you have just lost a prospective customer. Do this enough times and you lose all of your customers (online anyway).

Build a relationship with your customer base, and then they will be the ones asking you to market to them.

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  • jared

    excellent post! this is a great reminder to us all, and something I will be pointing people to in the future. I added this to stumble upon – thank you!

  • Jacob Morgan

    Thanks for the comment Jared. I haven’t seen many people addressing this, and I think it makes for an interesting topic.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Des Walsh

    Great image, the megaphone wielding spruiker, of what not to do with social media. Like people who go to an offline business event, spray their business cards around and think they are being effective networkers. In the online world, as in the offline, we get to know who to listen to and who to trust – and it’s not the guy with the megaphone.

  • Jacob Morgan

    Exactly Des. Thanks for reading, I hope to see more of your comments in the future.

  • Debbie Ducic

    You are right on Jared! It’s something I teach…even put together a fun series of roll play videos on my blog comparing social networking to interacting at a party.

  • Debbie Ducic

    And the first rule at a party is…get the name right! I’m so sorry Jacob! Jared was close though, huh? :) Lots of good stuff on your blog!

  • Jacob Morgan

    Haha it’s ok, I forgive you. Actually Jeff Pulver does a real life social tagging game when he is trying to promote the use of social media. I was privy to this at his latest social media club event! Hope to hear from you again soon.

  • Pingback: Blogging Strategy Vs Social Media Strategy | Jacob Morgan's Marketing Ideas and Rants

  • Andy Kaufman

    Great post Jacob and I think you hit the nail on the head.

    I wrote the same thing in a comment on Agent Genius earlier this week.

  • Jacob Morgan

    Thanks Andy, so few people really understand this.

  • Ric Cortez

    Get connected, related and engaged with people. To do that you need to follow the trailblazers and communicate by commenting, suggesting or simply sharing your thoughts. Im a newbie but Im getting the groove of this so called social media phenomenon.

  • Ric Cortez

    Get connected, related and engaged with people. To do that you need to follow the trailblazers and communicate by commenting, suggesting or simply sharing your thoughts. Im a newbie but Im getting the groove of this so called social media phenomenon.

  • Anonymous

    Get people connected, connected and committed. To do this you need to follow the pioneers and to communicate to comment, suggest, or simply share your thoughts. Im a beginner but I am going to get into the groove of this so-called phenomenon of social media.
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