Lets start some definitions, shall we? From Wikipedia:

“Social marketing (not to be confused with societal marketing or social media marketing) is the systematic application of marketing, along with other concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good.[1] Social marketing can be applied to promote merit goods, or to make a society avoid demerit goods and thus to promote society’s well being as a whole. For example, this may include asking people not to smoke in public areas, asking them to use seat belts, or prompting to make them follow speed limits.”

“Social media marketing is a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, Orkut and YouTube.”

Ugh. “How are professionals still interchanging these terms and sounding like idiots?” I think this to myself every time I see this mistake. It rattles me more than it should because social marketing is the reason I went on to grad school and attended the school that I did (Emerson Shoutout!). Social marketing is affecting change for the greater good. As I try to be more tolerant I decided that maybe social media marketing can become social marketing.

As organizations move to engage consumers through social media, perhaps those that use it in a more altruistic way will be changing the way consumers live their lives for the better. Those that ‘do it wrong’ will still be seeing minor successes in their bottom line but not fully take advantage of the place they could hold in clients lives by being helpful.

Dont get me wrong, all communication with a brand will affect their bottom line. But what if that relationship building was more than push communication and led to what was best for the consumer rather than the company, even if it meant a lost sale. Is a lost sale worth its weight in WOM buzz?

FYI I dont even like the idea of ‘social media marketing’ as a term. That makes it sound like just your same old marketing crap. Why not relationship building or community management?


Image courtesy of Amazon.com

2 Comments

  1. YES! Thank you for giving voice to two of my greatest pet peeves! First social vs. social media marketing– I think this happens because the discipline of true social marketing isn’t well known by most mainstream marketers. This made the term easy to co-opt, even if incorrect. Secondly: Social media marketing– I have always thought that this fell flat as a term too. But I think that this is in part because of how we’ve come to define ‘marketing.’ Marketing has this icky sheen to it– its what people do when they have one too many used Chevy Novas on their lot. Just as social marketers need to reclaim their term, all marketers need to take back “marketing.” Marketing at its best is about making meaningful connections with customers to give them the products and services that improve their experiences. Ideally that happens through all channels, social or otherwise.

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