Written By: Bas van den Beld | Apr 18, 2011
Social media marketing is new. Social is great — it's free and it's a pot of gold that only takes a few days to set up and not more than a week to get results.
Just look at all the books on Amazon. Look at the number of results you get in Google when you do a search for "social media success." This is it!
The above is what you might read from a so-called "guru" who really doesn't know what he's talking about.
In reality, successful social media marketing costs money, takes time, and requires hard work. And do you think it's new? Think again.
For many search marketers and social media experts, this may be obvious, but many marketers just starting with social still feel that they are starting something new and forget to take two critical steps: thinking and planning.
Social Media Marketing is Nothing New
Let's start with the feeling that being social is completely new. Really? You think so?
The essence of using social marketing has been with us for centuries. Jesus Christ probably was one of the first who realized that he needed others to spread his words. He had 12 followers at first, but those 12 eventually reached millions — and he didn't have a Twitter account.
People have been social for ages. If you go to a specific restaurant, for instance, chances are someone within your social circle pointed you toward that restaurant.
So being social is nothing new, and as a marketer you have to realize that. Social media is a tool that can help you "do" your marketing, but you have to have the basics right: you want to find your "apostles," the people who will spread your message.
Let's zoom in a little on two things marketers should know when it comes to using social media full force. These are two things you can take from "old" marketing methods, but some social media marketers tend to forget.
The "old style" marketer looks at a potential target audience before doing anything. Somehow many marketers who want to do social marketing don't seem to care about that, they look at the tool first: "We need to Twitter, so let's Twitter!"
As a marketer you shouldn't dive into social media right away. Think first. Find out who you're targeting — and make sure you aren't looking at your potential audience one-dimensionally.
Your potential clients are one part of your target audience, but don't forget about those apostles who will spread your message. The goal of targeting your apostles is to inform your potential clients, not to necessarily turn them into clients.
Something "old school" marketers always look at is where to target people.
As said, many marketers think they have to go social and immediately open up a Twitter account and create a Facebook page. But for who and for what?
Again: think first. Where is your target audience? Are they on Twitter? Do they want to see you on Facebook? Or maybe you should be focusing more on LinkedIn, for example?
This is a different kind of "where" than "old" marketing, but it's still there.
In short: marketers shouldn't treat social as if it's a completely new ballgame. Yes, there are new elements to it, but the mindset has been around for centuries. Keep that in mind and social will become a lot more effective.