What Is Social Media Marketing?

I’ve made an observation lately. When people talk about social media marketing, there’s an assumption that everybody knows what it is. Marketers seem to make this assumption all the time. I’m holding my hands up here because the chances are, I have too.

I think the reason for this is that social media is no longer that ‘thing the young ones do’. It’s very much engrained in the core of our culture. It has changed the way we communicate forever.

So as ‘social media’ become a buzzword part of our everyday language, ‘social media marketing’ has become part of that too. It’s been around for a while now and so when the phrase is thrown out there, an explanation is rarely given.

The problem with that for small business owners is that while no explanation is often clear, there is a very strong message out there that as a business you MUST be on social media and that it’s critical to your business.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a lot of credibility behind such bold statements. They makes a lot of sense but if you don’t understand what social media marketing actually is, it can be really difficult to wrap your head around the concept. Even when you think you’ve got it, you’ll go to implement everything you’re told you should be doing and what happens? Crickets. Nothing happens.

At this point, people tend to go one of two ways. They will either try to pretend it doesn’t exist but eventually the same problem with crop back up again. The other way they respond is by becoming a fully-fledged course junkie. Course junkies will consume as much knowledge as they possible can, they will typically spend a lot of money on these course to learn but again, when it comes to the implementation, it doesn’t quite fulfil expectations.

It feels like it just doesn’t add up. It’s almost like there’s a missing piece and as basic as this may seem, I kinda think this is it.

It’s really important we have a clear understanding of social media marketing is so that when we do go about developing our social media strategies or when we do take that next course; instead of taking everything literally and trying to apply it as a cookie cutter solution (because we all know cookie cutters belong in the kitchen right?) , we are able to say ok, I’ve got this, now how can I apply this in a way that aligns/fits with specific business, my audience, the message I am trying to share and the direction I’m headed in.

You can make it your own and that’s when the magic happens.

So what exactly is social media marketing?

I can only explain it from my own perspective but to me…

Social media is a communication channel. If we really break it down the media is the technology that enables the social interaction. It’s that simple.

The reason this social media matters is, as I said earlier, because it created a shift in how we communicate and that shift is now ingrained in our culture. Most of us are connected or within a couple of meters of our devices at any point in time. We’re also at a point where we aren’t just talking one device, we’re full on multi-device, multi-taskers.

It’s a little insane but it’s also the SMART world we’re living in.

Now, with so many people using social media, it only makes sense that as business owners, are utilising social media too...for that one reason. Social media provides access to our customers. There is no other place or way that you could access your customers with such low barriers  to entry.

And that brings us to social media marketing. Businesses can use social media as a marketing communication channel. It’s a place where you can find your ideal customers and you can speak directly with them.

We can make that as complex or as simple as we want too but at it’s very foundation, it’s just communication. Communicating with another human being, well, that’s the most natural thing in the world.

That’s how I like to think of it anyway.

Now, the great thing about the technology side of social media is that it has enabled us to scale those interactions. We’re able to reach out, have conversations and build relationships with multiple people at the same time without compromising how genuine you are being or losing that personal touch.

As cliche as it is to say, the fact remains, people do business with people they know, like and trust. Those are three different stages that can be reached through building up relationships with your customers and prospects.

So social media is essentially enabling you to market your business to individuals. One on one but at scale. Powerful stuff huh?

Sure there’s a lot more to social media marketing that just having that explanation but that's what this blog is all about.

For now, what I’d really love you to be able to take away from this is a crystal clear understanding that social media marketing is about people. Marketing always has been. It’s about finding the right people, communicating the right message with those people and building relationships with them to the point where they want to take the next step.

The beautiful thing thing about this approach is that your online community will decide they want to become customers on their own. When that happens, you don’t need to try so hard to ‘sell’ or convince people to buy your stuff all the time. Instead of telling them how great you are, you’ve shown them. As a result, you not only earn a lifetime customer, you potentially earn a brand advocate; someone who believes in what you are doing and the message you are trying to share just as much as you do. You earn a community that will market your business for you.

It really is something pretty special especially when you see it happening in your own business.

I hope this has been helpful for you. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Much love from my heart to yours.

Chloë