The Basics of Social Media Marketing Don't Change

by Eric Melin on May 22, 2012

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Browsing all of the awesome social media business blogs as I do every morning, I ended up on Brian Solis‘ page today and saw a headline in the “Recent Comments” sidebar: Social Media is About Sociology Not Technology.

I liked the headline so much, I clicked on the link. Much to my surprise, I found it was written way back in 2007. Besides showing how right-on and ahead of the curve Brian was five years ago, this article got me thinking: The basics of social media marketing will always be the same.

It’s not about the technology, it’s about what you do with it. It’s about people. It’s about relationships.

Having the latest, coolest social media tool may make your life easier, but a tool is just a tool. No matter how much you want it to, it can’t automatically do your job for you. In the slice of the industry that Spiral16 finds ourselves in (social media research and reporting), we strive to give our clients the most flexible platform with the best data from all over the web. If clients are also utilizing our customized Actionable Analytics reports, then we apply that special “x” factor:

Human insight and analysis.

Without this, you have nothing. Social media and web data has the potential to transform companies. But this transformation is only going to happen if the company gets something more out of social media monitoring than simply knowing the number of likes, retweets, volume, etc. of any their brand.

Companies today don’t need expensive focus groups and surveys to gain valuable business-related feedback. Web and social intelligence gathering can find your customers online and help you understand your market. It can also help you discover important trends, identify online communities, measure sentiment, and run competitive intelligence. All of these things should relate back to your company and your brand value. Human analysis comes from the right people looking at the right, targeted set of data.

The next step: Insight must lead to action (and innovation).


We can show you the link relationship and sentiment of web posts about your brand, but you have to use that insight to act strategically.

What have you learned about your company by monitoring online? Where does your market reside online? Look at the trends and the tone of discussion. How do you engage your prospective customers? How can you adapt the language of current customers to make them feel ownership of your brand and turn them into brand loyalists? How can you do this in a meaningful way? How are your competitors’ positioning themselves? What are your competitors doing successfully? Where are they stumbling? How can you take advantage for your company? How can you improve your social conversation?

Remember, social media is about sociology, not technology. We can give you all the useful information to inform your social media strategy and we can keep you updated so you can tweak campaigns as they go, but you have to tap into something real. Tools and reporting services can tell you what the landscape looks like, but you have to jump in and participate in a meaningful way. Don’t get “analysis paralysis,” and don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re using a social media research platform, you already have a way to measure what success looks like. Jump in!

Back in 2007, Brian wrote: The difference is that by listening, reading, and participating, corporate marketing will be smarter and more approachable than ever before. This is how we humanize brands, create loyalty, and earn customer’s business.

It’s still true today.

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