Social Media

What exactly is Social Media Marketing? Why should I care?

After a comment made while on-boarding a new client last week, I realized that many people confuse or are simply unclear about what Marketing does, and the specific role of Social Media marketers and managers. Allow me to clarify in general terms about marketing, and then explain specifically what part of that I do.

This quote by Sherron Washington (a leading marketing and communications strategist, author, speaker, and trainer), made last week at the Social Media Pro Summit, is a great place to start:

“PR [public relations] gets you seen, marketing gets you leads, and sales gets you sales.”

These are all parts of Marketing, but they are not the same, nor do they have the same practices and outcomes. Additionally, some PR, marketing, and sales professionals specialize in print, radio/audio, broadcast/video, or social media.

Just to add to the confusion, “Marketing” with a capital “M” refers to the study and management of exchange relationships (and my undergraduate minor). It is one of the primary components of business management. Little “m” marketing is either a verb or part of a specific Marketing role or task. For example: I am going to market your book through social media marketing.

According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Marketing includes (but is not limited to) market research, marketing strategy, branding, public relations, advertising, content marketing, social media marketing (SMM), influencer marketing, relationship marketing, viral marketing, green marketing, keyword marketing, guerrilla marketing, inside sales, outside sales, and analysis—that is, analyzing resulting data to report results and/or recommend future actions. Like in any other field, there are specialists, general practitioners, and jacks/jills-of-all-trades. You will find solopreneurs, partnerships, employees, consultants, and agencies. You will find those who specialize in tangibles, intangibles, industries, or events.

What exactly is Social Media Marketing? Why should I care?

Which one is most important? They all are! They are all parts of the whole that leads to money in your (the author, company, nonprofit, etc.) bank account. You may have heard of the “Know, Like, & Trust” factor which is essential to your success. Your ideal client/audience/customer has to first see you or hear about you (PR) to know that you exist. Once they know you exist, they must know you—who you are, what you do, how you can address their need (advertising). Once they know you, they can determine whether or not they trust you—rarely do we do business with or buy something from someone we don’t trust (content marketing). Once they decide they trust you and that you are the one to meet their need, they will buy your product, read your book, contract with your company (sales).

Here’s the sticky part… many entrepreneurs are being coached to ask after the ROI (return on investment) for every dollar they spend, so that they are hesitant to do proper marketing because there is no documentable ROI on a FB post, newspaper ad, radio spot, video sponsorship. It is hard to spend money when you can’t hold in your hand what you get for that money. Additionally, with so many teens and twenty-somethings spending so much time on social media, many business owners delegate Marketing to a young relative or friend of the family who has no concept of the broad principles of Marketing, the specifics of SMM, the ideal client to target, nor the industry/business they are to market. Then when the business owner can’t see results, he concludes that Marketing doesn’t work or isn’t worth the time and investment.

It’s not unusual to invest in a full, professionally managed, marketing campaign and not see the actual uptick in business or sales for months or, in some cases, years. Someone might hear your interview today, see your ad next week, read content about you next month, see a video about your product the following month, realize next quarter that they need your service, start researching the month after, and then decide to buy in six months. And for some crazy reason, they feel more comfortable and aware of your business and decide to give you their hard earned money. We know that crazy reason is because they were aware of you, even if only on a subconscious level, long before they knew they needed what you have to offer. So you see, there is no direct ROI on this process. But, I can guarantee that if you didn’t invest in the process, there is a very strong possibility the sale would have gone to your competitor who did have a marketing plan and did make the investment.

What exactly is Social Media Marketing? Why should I care?

So what part of this do I do? Glad you asked! In years past I have worked in many areas of Marketing, including market research, advertising, sales, content marketing, marketing support, strategy, branding, and analysis. I have worked as the only Marketing person in a company, as part of a Marketing team, and for a large market research agency that consulted for companies of all sizes and industries. All that experience has led me to identify and focus in on my strengths and passions.

I am now a general practitioner who focuses on intangibles and working with creative entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits. I especially excel at launching projects, businesses, and events. I love the strategy, branding, social media, content marketing, and monthly analysis. I am intrigued by guerrilla marketing, but don’t quite feel confident yet to try it for my clients. I have a network of professionals I can call on to supplement areas that I may not have the expertise or time to provide. I dream of one day growing Unleashing the Next Chapter into a full service marketing agency.

If you want to know more about what services I offer to get an idea if I and Unleashing the Next Chapter would be a good fit for marketing your project, business, or event, here’s a link to my Services page. If you are interested in chatting with me about marketing your next project, you can schedule a 30-minute discovery appointment by clicking here.