A few weeks ago my attention was drawn to an infographic doing the rounds on Twitter. In fact it was all over Twitter like a rash. Hardly surprising given the headline: “This INSANE Graphic Shows How Ludicrously Complicated Social Media Marketing Is Now.”
Twitter loves a good infographic and absolutely adores talking about itself. That’s why over 777,000 people have visited the story on www.businessinsider.com since 17 May. That’s pretty good given that the two stories sitting either side that day managed combined visits totalling 4,245. Obviously they didn’t attract the same level of hype that the ludicrously complicated social media marketing landscape story garnered.
Like everyone else, including the legions of social media marketeers seeking affirmation of the ludicrously complicated jobs they do, I followed the link with interest.
Something didn’t feel right. Sure enough, the graphic showed a bewildering array of websites; hundreds of them, all legitimate destinations for social media marketing activity.
To quote the article, “Digital marketing is confusing—really confusing—as this insane graphic shows. Trying to navigate through the various new social media categories, blogs, sharing sites, and social media firms is an absolute mess.”
I struggled with this on two fronts. First, I couldn’t see why hundreds of potential websites is any different from the thousands of different publications all competing for print advertising dollars. Or the hundreds of digital TV channels fighting to sell ad spots for that matter.
More importantly, and not for the first time, it made me question the essence of social media marketing, which I believe is wholly different from other forms of marketing. Too many companies seem to believe that social media is just another channel for pushing out or linking to marketing messages, sales offers and adverts They don’t realise that traditional marketing techniques have no place in social media.
The clever ones understand that social media marketing is all about creating and maintaining relationships. Relationships based on attentiveness, two-way interaction, shared experiences and emotions, and trust.
Succeed in this and the people you touch will do your marketing for you. They will be your brand advocates. They will talk to their friends and families about you. They will like you on Facebook, retweet you and Pin your images. They will use their own preferred channels naturally and organically, many of which will be on the graphic above. You don’t need to have accounts with hundreds of competing social media channels. You just need to focus on the biggest ones.
The best way to create enduring relationships is in person, with real human interaction, one on one. What social media offers is the next best thing, with the added bonus of unprecedented reach. It is about cutting through the barriers and finding a way to make authentic connections on people’s own terms.
So I thought I’d offer up an alternative graphic and headline.
This Touching Graphic Shows How Ludicrously Simple Social Media Marketing Is.