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Social media explained in a few sentences
February 2011

Below you will find some short definitions and descriptions of social media related terms and questions, which hopefully help you better understand the subject. Over time more questions and answers will be added.
If you have any remarks or difference of opinion, than please write a comment so that I can improve this page.

What is social media?
Social media is any website or other digital channel, that allows people to communicate directly with each other and the whole world. It gives people closer contact with friends and family and allows them to become critics, journalists or editors from their home. In general people will use the term social media for anything to do with social media, social media marketing and social business.

What is social media marketing?
The use of the social media channels by companies to market their brands the old fashioned way, but reaching customers through a new channel. This is usually done by marketers who do not grasp the full meaning of social media yet and has short lived success, as consumers expect companies to communicate with them and not bombard them with TV like advertisements on internet.

What is social business?
Engaging with your customers, mainly on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but also anywhere else on- and offline, turning your whole organisation into a social business, delivering a whole ew range of services to your customers, thus building an emotional bond with those customers and turning them into advocates of your brand. Real social businesses will incorporate their clients into their business process; invite their clients to participate, using their preferences, ideas and feedback to improve their goods, services and organisation. Especially organisations that have a strong off-line CRM system will make a quick, successful transition into social media.

What is different about social media?
Some of the differences are:

  • The customer decides what happens online. Companies have to engage the customers where they want and about the subject they decide.
  • Push strategies do not work any longer. Companies have to deliver good services instead.
  • The marketing department no longer controls the marketing messages. The consumer is writing those and listens only to the mesages of other consumers.
  • One customer can do a lot of damage quickly.

Why use social media and social business?
The online behavior and expectations of consumers have changed extensively and your customers use social media on a daily basis, expressing their preferences and issues they have with your organisation, goods and service. Companies need to engage those customers online to deliver the service that is expected from them, otherwise those customers will seek these services from competitors.

Where do I begin with social media?
Becoming a social business is never done in small projects. A company goes social or doesn't, but it cannot do it just with one project; the whole business has to go social and when it does it does so forever. Having said this, make sure you start small, test and evaluate regularly and as soon as things work you add on a next level.


What do I need to monitor online?
Before a company can engage in social media marketing, it has to be aware what people want. The customer decides what happens online and companies need to adapt to those wishes.
Apart from that it will make you quickly aware of negative issues that are building up out there.

What if I find negative remarks?
There will always be negative remarks, if a company is listening or not. Finding negative remarks is a great opportunity to solve them through delivering an excellent (follow up) service. Negative feedback allow companies to improve their services and their products.

Should I remove negative remarks from my product page?
Never remove negative remarks from your own pages. They will show up tenfold elsewhere in no time. Removing negative remarks will aggravate the problem. Try to solve the problem behind the negative remark and let the customer know you are working on the problem. A simple explanation is often seen as an excellent customer service. Often other customers who you already built a good relationship with will answer negative remarks for you.


Is it possible to determine the ROI of a social media project?
Yes! Do not go for deviations of ROI, like Return On Engagement, but implement social media marketing as any other marketing campaign, setting clear objectives and defining clear metrics for those objectives. That will automatically give you a clear picture of your ROI.

What to measure with social media?
When looking at single campaigns, do measure those actions by your customer that need an investment by them. If you are able to connect sales to social media engagements, great! Otherwise meqasure comments, retweets and other actions that ask more from a customer than a simple click on a follow, fan or like button.


Social media





Some of my personal remarks and opinion on books related to social media marketing:

"Socialnomics" How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, by Erik Qualman


"New rules of PR & Marketing" How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly,
by David Meerman Scott

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