Social media is a relatively new concept. However, social media has had a profound impact on society and marketing efforts, especially as of late. However, the potential behind this phenomenon remains largely untapped as many brands don’t fully understand the medium.
The first thing marketers need to realize is that social media isn’t really media. If you continue to label it as such, you place yourself at a significant disadvantage. It’s hard to differentiate between the media ideal and what online social venues are actually all about.
What Social Media Is & What It Isn’t
Media is a method of communication for sponsors to reach their audiences. Traditional media was created as a vehicle for content delivery that was sponsored by advertisers. It was a win-win scenario. Viewers were entertained and sponsors had the floor when it was time for commercials. Social media is an entirely different concept.
Social media was developed for interpersonal communication. The core functions of this activity is not branding and advertising. Social media has never been about getting content in exchange for attention. This is probably the main reason that social media isn’t really media.
Are You Facilitating Social Exchanges Between Audience Members & Friends?
If you want to get more out of your social media efforts, you’ll want to start helping people communicate. In traditional media, you may be the center of attention, but you’re not when it comes to social media. Your primary objective shouldn’t be maximizing the exchange between yourself and your audience. If you’re trying to use social media this way, you’re not going to get the full benefit. Instead, social media should be about you helping your audience interact with their friends.
Are You Offering Social Currency for Users to Spend on Social Engagement?
Another thing you need to realize when it comes to social media is that social currency is what fuels this particular network. Your audience will spend this social currency on social engagement. Traditional media doesn’t really involve social exchange. It’s irrelevant. However, social exchange is the lifeblood of the social media experience. Your audience wants social currency to spend, and if you don’t give it to them someone else will.
Are You Thinking About Future Media Integration Strategies?
Currently, social media plays a secondary role. Traditional media is still the dominant force. This could change, but for now this is the way things work. Of course, savvy marketers already know this. Media integration is already a hot topic, and you should be exploring ways to amplify your reach through media integration. If you’re not actively considering this, you can be sure your competition is.
If you want to be successful in the social media arena, you need to realize that social media is about connections and interactions between people. It’s not about brand-to-consumer exchanges. You need to focus on bringing people together, not bringing a product to the marketplace. When you bring people together, then you’ll successfully connect with consumers.