Why do so Many People think Social Media is only about Marketing?


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I do not get it, I just don’t!! Please pardon the outward expression of frustration, my apologies, sort of. Apology made, I do want to know the answer: why is it that so many people believe that Social Media will live or die based on Marketing. I am not making this up, here, read for yourself:

“Social Media is business can go one of two ways, it will either skyrocket or cave in.  The next few months will be crucial in determining the direction the social side of online marketing goes.”

The author further goes on to state:

“We all must be extremely open to sharing and this is the only way in my opinion social media marketing and business will work together. Business owners need to share and share often.” and asks “Can social media and business co-exist?”

There is a link to the whole article further down, but I am still wondering about the question posed by the author. Of course they will co-exist. The real question is will your business be able to co-exist with Social Media. If all you do is Market to, Share with and Talk to, “NO” they will not coexist. If you use Social Media for what it was intended and begin to leverage is as an engagement platform, a place online to connect with your customers, well, then now we are on to something.

If you are able to focus, as a company, to  build and offer better products, while developing better, more engaging and longer lasting relationships, how could anyone wonder if they will co-exist? Social Media is an available channel and a powerful tool, if you screw up, by losing trust and using it as just another bullhorn, sure, you are hosed. The collaborative Enterprise, or E20 looks inwards which also leverage Social Media tools, and technology.

Let’s not forget, it is about the Customer

Friend Wim Rampen recently wrote:

“..marketers continue to focus on explaining to (potential) Customers what value they are providing or adding. Firms seem not to understand that the other side of the table is not deriving value FROM the product. The other side is trying to get a job done and your product or service is a means to that end, thus they are creating value WITH the product. And – this is really important – they can’t do that job without themselves.”

Wim’s article is quite good, and you should take a look, (after you finish here:-). But putting another part of the article together to further make my point:

“Actionable insights are not only derived from good analytics, you need to understand what it is you want your Customers to talk about too, and then see if you can get them to do so.. Don’t wait for the feedback to come to you, but actively seek the feedback you need.”

You cannot even get to this point if all your doing is using Social Media to broadcast messages, there is so much more you can learn from your customers, if you start listening and engaging, then acting. I apologize again for the rant, but it just seems so obvious, am I missing something?

Here is the article I am referencing. I usually suggest that people read it, but today, I am not so sure – your choice.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mitch Lieberman
Finding patterns and connecting the dots across the enterprise. Holding a strong belief that success is achieved by creating tight alignment between business strategy, stakeholder goals, and customer needs. systems need to be intelligent and course through enterprise systems. Moving forward, I will be turning my analytical sights on Conversational Systems and Conversational Intelligence. My Goal is to help enterprise executives fine-tune Customer Experiences


  1. Mitch I fully understand your frustration. It’s the “quick and dirty get it up and go on to the next” mentality. We won’t change that.

    Since two years we are teaching:
    “Social media marketing should be the last action on a company’s path to a social business”
    (Social Media Academy)

    Social Media in Service
    This should probably be one of the first customer facing groups engaging in social media. Augmenting support programs with customer based knowledge and experience, supporting customer run communities and much more.

    Social Media in Product Management
    Probably the biggest cost saver in social media is happening in product management. Not only the much less expensive product launch but the much less expensive product requirements gathering and early product tests.

    Social Media in Sales
    Turning sales people into the social web and becoming masters in relationship building makes even mediocre sales people to stars. Sales effectiveness is growing but more importantly the new sales person is no longer selling the client (who don’t want to be sold) but help them to find the best solution for them.

    Social Media in Logistics
    Social Media is a perfect model to build early warning systems and gather market trends very early on. We worked with stunning companies to have social media in logistics contributing significantly to the bottom line.

    Social Media in HR
    The leading human resource departments not only review profiles but build pattern to make sure they find the best matching talents for the job AND matching the company culture.

    Social Media Marketing
    The last in the series. Once the company is ready and has the customer facing units aligned with what customers would call a great customer experience – THEN marketing is a great way to amplify the customer voice.
    Prior to that point in time, social media marketing is just the old push into what they call “a new channel” and is actually counter productive because it ruins relationships more than it builds them.

    But hey – every company leader does what they think is best for the company. And so the old leadership model remains intact: 1% lead the market and 99% believe they follow those leaders while in reality they follow what they hear those leaders do – not what they actually execute.


  2. Hi Mitch

    An interesting post.

    Many people seem confused about social media and its role in the ‘marketing mix’. They seem to think that social media somehow replaces traditional marketing. Nothing could be further from the truth. A brief look at the principles of marketing show why.

    Traditional marketing probably originated as companies looked to expand beyond the limited range of customers that could be handled by face-to-face selling. With its modern foundation in press advertising and catalogues, marketing provided companies with the ability to show large numbers of customers the products they had for sale and a way for customers to buy them. From these humble beginnings, we are now faced with an estimated 3,000 marketing messages a day. Many of them patently untruthful. ‘All marketers are liars’, as Seth Godin so memorably writes. There is no wonder that we ignore the vast majority of them.

    Fast forward to 2010 and social media. Social media recognises that our friends and family are generally the most used and the most influential sources of information about products that we are interested in. And they generally have little incentive to lie about the products they have used. Why consult a company marketing’s hyperbole and lies when you can ask a friend what the product is really like. Marketers have been quick to see this opportunity and have tried to harness social media as a new channel with which to get their messages out. Particularly through the Internet (despite the fact that 95% of social media is still off-line). But customers are reluctant to be harnessed so that marketers can make a quick buck.

    The rise of social media would seemingly be spell the end of traditional marketing as we know it. But does it? I don’t think so. Traditional marketing communications are great at getting messages out to the population at large. Even with the fragmentation of marketing channels, a well-executed marketing campaign can easily reach millions of potential customers. And a certain percentage of them will buy and gather their own experiences with the product. Those customers that are particulaly happy (or unhappy) will likely tell others. Traditional marketing and social media are thus inexorably linked together. Marketing communicates shallow messages to large numbers of people to drive adoption, social media communicate deeper messages to smaller numbers of people to drive imitation. New product diffusion models (first developed in the 1960s) recognise the importance of both marketing and social media.

    A company would be foolish to reply 100% upon marketing to get its message out. But it would be insame to reply 100% on social media. As social network experts like Duncan Watts shows, marketing success requires a combination of traditional marketing and social media to optimise communications to, between and with customers.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.


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