The Enlightenment Phase of Social Media Marketing

by Scott Bishop on May 10, 2012

Social media marketing is finally entering a new phase of a brand’s marketing cycle. This is a place that we should have started at a long time ago but instead skipped the step in the hope of an easy buck.

You certainly have the outlier brands who are leading the way with innovative campaigns and thoughtful strategy but the majority of businesses and brands are not in that world. Hell, most aren’t in the same ballpark. Many aren’t even playing the same sport. If they were, it wouldn’t be innovative and news worthy for a business to use social tools the way they were intended. But that’s often what gets coverage.

That being said, I am confident that the majority of brands are now reaching this second piece of the cycle, the Enlightenment Phase. Brands today both big and small are realizing that Facebook pages don’t magically increase sales by themselves. Twitter interactions don’t automatically create customer loyalty. That because Pinterest is popular it does not automatically triple website traffic.

Basically businesses are just now realizing that social media is not the holly grail that half-assed marketers and snake-oil selling Social Media Consultants have been promising for the last several years. This realization and next phase is getting those who dabbled in social media and quit, as well as brands who are just not getting measurable results to finally understand that social media marketing is just like the rest of their business development activities…hard work that deserves smart thinking and disciplined execution.

The previous phase of the social media marketing evolution was the Discovery Phase. A period where brands first jumped in, created profiles in network after network, engaged with anyone who would respond back, and created content content content whether their audience wanted it or not.  Yes there are still some businesses out there who have yet to at least create some sort of social presence but it’s fair to say that the majority of brands you’re going to work with are at the tail end of this Discovery Phase.

Basically we’re at the point now where social media marketers will begin to separate themselves into the real deal and those who really don’t understand real marketing. No longer is setting up profiles and asking for a check enough. Results and strategy are now going to be at the forefront of the conversation. Clients and brands are no longer mesmerized by fancy terminology. They’ve seen what their competitors are doing at the last industry trade-show and they want to start moving marketing metrics. Not follower counts but real metrics.

Buckle up social media marketing pro. If you haven’t been sharpening your brand strategy sword and focusing on how real business development works you’re in for a rough ride. For the rest of us, our day of reckoning is here. The discussions and talks that digital marketing has deserved for so long is making it’s way into the CMO’s discussions. So while we’re now just getting into the next stage of the social media marketing life-cycle, we’re finally at the point where we should have been all along. And it’s about time.

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