The following post is the first installation in a series of posts addressing social media marketing.
It is no longer possible to discuss a comprehensive marketing strategy in 2010 without bringing social media into the discussion. The Internet is evolving and these new technologies are undoubtedly changing consumer behavior. Organizations that embrace these new connections, conversations and tools appropriately will gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
How do we define social media?
It is a question asked by both marketing professionals and consumers. With media and technology rapidly evolving, it becomes more and more difficult to decide the definition of the term social media.
The authors of "Users of the World, Unite!" define social media as a "group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content" (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010).
However, Brian Solis, one of the most published authors in new media, defines social media as "the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism, one-to-many, to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers" (Solis, 2010).
As social media moves toward ubiquity, it becomes largely misunderstood, thus guiding many practitioners away from their true opportunity and purpose. Although practitioners may differ on their definitions of social media, it is important to remain true to a singular definition and purpose.
Social media marketing generally incorporates individual elements from each of the social Web's three separate arenas (Evans, 2009):
- Social platforms: This category includes personal social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace; white-label social networks, which are online communities created by individual companies or other organizations; and wikis, which include collaborative websites, such as Wikipedia.
- Social content: This category includes blogs, microblogs, photo and video sharing, and audio podcast sites.
- Social interactions: This category includes e-mail; text messages and other social feeds; calendar and event services; and status notices.
Evans, Dave. (2008). Social Media Marketing. Sybex.
Kaplan, A. & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.
Solis, Brian. (2010). Engage! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate and Measure Success in the New Web. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.