Chris Brogan has a good post up about why social media is not a form of marketing:
Here’s where I’m going with this: marketers trying to come into social media and rapidly become versed in the tools and believe what they’re doing is social media, are probably doomed to a lot of pain and disappointment along the way. Marketers who come into social media and feel that these tools will deliver the same kinds of clean stats and clear cut wins and campaign thinking overall are doomed as well.
Marketing is a discipline with lots of emphasis on channel thinking, on campaigns, on message shaping, on control and covering all the bases.
Social media is a set of tools that permit regular people access to potential audiences of shared interest. These tools give voice, give preference, give rise to individuality, give flexibility, collaborative opportunity, and a whole lot of other things that don’t resemble traditional marketing the same way gym class felt absolutely nothing like social studies.
Marketers have tools. They understand what they do very well. They understand lead acquisition, and brand strategy, and all kinds of things that the folks who use social media tools could really do to understand before knocking.
The other day I wrote about how Twitter is often used in ways that may be useful, but that take it outside the realm of social media - because when you use it to broadcast, it's not longer social, it's just a medium. That's something for marketers to think about as they wrap their arms around any social medium.
It all comes back, I think, to things Seth Godin was saying a long time ago about interruption marketing versus permission marketing. We marketers have an astonishing ability to turn everything into interruption; whether it's email campaigns that don't bother with personalization and - the ultimate email crime, in my view - deliver messages to which the user can't reply, or using YouTube to blast something out without paying attention to what viewers are saying, to using Twitter as a handy way to get ads to someone's SMS mailbox.
There's no question that social media are useful marketing tools. The challenge, of course, is using them as social media.
When you have a hammer, every problem is a nail; when you're a marketer, sometimes every problem is sneaking a message in front of an eyeball. From the user point of view, the most successful social media are likely to be those that let users take unwanted nails and jab them back into the marketer's eyeball. Those that turn into marketing vehicles (hi, Facebook!) are likely to be abandoned by users.
Here's the challenge for savvy 21st century marketers, or those that want to be them: how do you market in that environment?