Does Social Marketing Always Need to be Social?

Marketers know the social sphere matters, but they can’t explain why they need to invest in social marketing. Thankfully, all that is changing using real numbers and relevant metrics.

Now, I know most social marketers consider their actions to be marketing. However, marketing and social actions are two different things. One uses social networks to generate defined, immediate, measurable results and the other uses social networks to build social engagement, brand loyalty, and customer satisfaction. This is exactly why it’s hard to measure the real impact of social actions. The two sets of metrics aren’t interchangeable. Social networks build themselves around brand-building metrics and marketers rely on hard ROI.

Thankfully, when it comes to connecting soft social actions with hard ROI, marketing outcomes are moving in the right direction. The social market is developing and evolving rapidly. Yet marketers fail to realize they need to stop justifying their social actions with notions of long-term community building. Don’t’ get me wrong, long-term community building is important on social networks, but if it isn’t paired with a focus on actions that produce measurable impact, then even the largest and most carefully curated social network is valueless.

Rather than exclusively thinking of social networks as platforms for taking soft social actions devoted to brand building, remember that social actions can drive meaningfully measurable results. There’s certain software, you can easily track the impact for direct social actions and measure click-throughs and conversions. Recent developments on the top platforms make it clear these networks’ efforts to court marketers are increasingly moving away from social actions and toward enabling functional advertisements. The impact of social actions is gradually becoming more clear, but the impact of marketing on social networks is definitely measurable now.

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