The market place seems to be getting so busy with companies and individuals claiming to be a social media expert. From IT, design, creative, PR, branding, communications, copy writing, advertising, digital and marketing (sure I’ve missed some).
Each sector has a different take social marketing and what it means. To some it’s about running training courses on how to use LinkedIn. To PR people it’s about creating the buzz and getting coverage online.
To branding / communications / marketing it’s about sending out news and tweets online.
To others who occupy the digital / online communities / SEO it’s a very different story. It’s about engaging with your community around your business. That’s your customers, fans, critics, stakeholders and whoever else is involved in the conversations around the themes and topics around your business, products and services. Search engine optimisation is aligning with social media at a rapid rate, so being agile enough to adjust to these new opportunities is important.
It remind me a lot of when Google was launched 12 years ago. I was just starting at Stickyeyes Online Marketing. I can remember the conversations around ‘who’s going to use a search engine with zero advertising on it?”. Weirdly enough Google is now the search engine of choice.
Search engine practises were very different as we had three folders of content for Google, MSN & Yahoo as they were optimised very differently. Now a days you’d be penalised for such activities.
Even then there were agencies who would sail closer to the black hat techniques of SEO and would not see techniques as spam but as playing the algorithms.
Likewise in social media today, anyone can pick up a book and then claim to be a social media expert. I can think of a business coach who’s recently re-positioned themselves as a social media expert.
But what about those of us who have been using social media before than phrase existed? Does it devalue our knowledge and experience?
Quite the opposite. Joining up the knowledge of how people use the internet, search, research, communicate and buy online is key. Only knowing specific elements of ‘how to RT’ or ‘how to blog’ or ‘How to use LinkedIn’ is more about the technologies rather than how to overall build a strategy and engage in the conversations.
As with the analogy of the SEO world. There were many shakedowns by Google where people were using black hat techniques to manipulate their rankings.
Likewise in Social media, there will be a shake down as companies want to get ROI for the investment they are making. So aligning business goals with social media is imperative to success and that is where experience counts for everything, not just the technicalities that people have read in books.