A few days ago I gave a presentation about social media marketing here in Nashville. During the Q&A time, someone asked about using Facebook as a promotional tool. She said Facebook had been working all right for a while, but now it wasn’t going so well. As she explained further, she said her organization had essentially been using Facebook to post news, press releases, and other information the people would find helpful. Now, however, she isn’t sure what to do with it because the group has stopped growing and there’s no interaction among the people.
This is actually a pretty common question to a pretty common problem, so here’s my answer: there are two groups of tools, social media tools and social networking tools, and they are meant to be used differently so use them for their intended purposes:
- Social media tools like podcasts, blogs, online video, etc.are primarily for creating and distributing content.
- Social networking toolslike Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace, on the other hand, are primarily for connecting and conversation.
It’s common to mix these up like in the example above. The lady was using Facebook, a social networking tool, to create content rather than to facilitate conversations and interactions with like-minded people. She wasn’t really interested in conversations and connections, so Facebook was the wrong tool for her strategy.
One thing to note here is that in new media marketing, content and conversations are very closly intertwined. So whereas you lead with content if you choose a social media strategy, you don’t abandon conversation. You simply don’t lead with conversation. Good conversation and connections on the heels of good content are a very powerful thing. That’s why it’s important to comment in blogs. It’s the conversation aspect of that particular social media tool.
The bottom line is this: if you choose a social media tool for your marketing strategy, lead with content and then follow up and continue to connect with people in conversations there. If you choose a social networking tool, lead with conversations and connections, and then create good content to keep the good conversations going.