How To Misunderstand Social Media Marketing

I recently had the distinct honor to host a workshop on business social media. Many people are completely lost when it comes to leveraging social media to boost sales or promote their ideas. In this post I would like to clarify some common misunderstandings around social media marketing. It is my goal to remind you of some marketing essentials that will hopefully let you see that social media is no holy grail. It merely is a single channel among a broad spectrum of possibilities.

Marketing consists of three main elements; a strategy, content and a channel.

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Having a marketing strategy

Having a strategy means that you have an overall plan of action to achieve a major aim. Many businesses never have a strategy to begin with. They randomly distribute content without having a specific marketing funnel in mind. A funnel is a theoretical and ideal journey of a prospect who turns into a customer. This happen in several stages, and each stage requires different tactics. If you don’t have a strategy – that’s where you need to start!


Coming up with marketing content

In order to create good marketing content, you need to understand the psychology that is driving your target audience. Hence, you first need to have a good understanding of who your target audience is. Again, many businesses never bother finding out who exactly their target audience is. They speak in the same manner to everyone, expecting them to all behave in the same way. That’s nonsense. Do you remember the words you chose as a kid when you tried to get a positive answer from your parents? If you wanted that new toy, you may have turned to your father reminding him that you aced the last math test. If you wanted to get an approval for a sleep-over however, you went to your mother, telling her that you loved her. That’s clever marketing. Why do we think using psychology would no longer apply to marketing your own business?


Choosing a marketing channel

Social media marketing is just one possible channel you can use to implement your strategy. It is important to understand that it is not the only channel that may be effective. I believe that the best strategies embrace a multitude of channels, where each channel is used to leverage specific strengths and affinities that help carry a prospect through the journey of becoming a customer. My own marketing efforts only became fruitful after I adopted a holistic approach to marketing. I started meeting people in person and learned how to recognize individuals that are a good fit for me and my business. After an initial in-person meeting I usually invite people to join my weekly email newsletter. In that newsletter I mainly provide helpful and relevant information for free. Marketing is about establishing  a trusting relationship between you and your (potential) customer. Relationships require balance, and we cannot continually ask without ever giving. I choose to give often and ask rarely.


The main take-away is that social media marketing has become a buzz word. As so often, turning concepts into buzz words is not necessarily favorable to the understanding of its place in a larger context. Social media marketing should only be one small component of all your efforts to promote your business and ideas.

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