A very interesting and provocative posting from Augie Ray on the role of Marketing in Social Media:
But in 2014, it is time for change. In the same way Marketing ceded control of corporate websites as the rest of the organization matured digitally, it is now time for Marketing to leave most aspects of social and earned media to others in the organization. That means that primary responsibility for social accounts, daily posting and organic content must shift out of marketing and to other departments, if this has not already occurred.
There is a lot of truth in the posting. Marketing and our Marketing Metrix is not ready for Earned and Social Media. We are used to demonstrate success through click-through-rates, site impressions (not talking here about measurement of new created opportunities, pipeline and pipeline movement) and now number of followers and fans. We are used to Mass Marketing, to high, impressive numbers. The higher, the better. Since a few years we were dreaming of ‚Earned Media‘, reaching people organically through ‚Social Channels‘. And what a surprise: Social Networks like Facebook are changing the rules and suddenly want cash, if we want to reach people. Unbelievable. And let us not forget another important aspect: People got tired of getting Marketing messages and promotions on Social Channels. Social SPAM. So is ‚Earned Media‘ dead? No, but most people want different information than the one, Marketing is typically providing:
Brands certainly have a place in social media, but the time has come to focus not on what your marketing department wants but on what your customers want: Deals, information, education, customer service, co-creation and social functionality. In this list, the Marketing Department is best aligned to furnish just one type of content–promotions. The remainder of the content and services are better left to Public Relations, Customer Care, Product Management and Development and Channel Management.
And here I totally agree with Ray. Let us change perception, that only Marketing is in charge of Social Media. Let us focus on what the customer wants and let us broaden the approach. In a ‚Social Business‘ all departments and people, who need to be in touch with the customers, need to be in Social Media, at the places, where their customers and potential customers are. At this places we need to provide the content, our customers want, and – even more important – we need to be open to start a dialog with our customers. And quite often it is going to be a 1:1 dialog. Or it is going to be a transparent dialog, where others are ‚co-reading‘ and perhaps become part of the conversation. New rules in the ‚Social Era‘, we as marketers need to get used to them – and need to embrace them.
Ray states, that Enterprise PR needs to be one of the driving forces in Social Media, because PR is used to ‚earn‘ media. I do partially agree. In the last decade PR used to talk to journalists. In the ‚Social Era‘ PR needs to talk to bloggers, to ‚influencers‘. Should we call that Influencer Marketing? I would prefer Influencer Relationship. If we want to market to influencer, we will be seen as people who just want to hard sell. I believe, we need to invest in trustful and authentic relationships, provide content and a real dialog, which is valuable for the influencer. Then we will earn much more. But let me be clear: If you want to have a real dialog with influencers, you need to only to treat them like journalists, but you also need to provide them direct access to the experts. And these experts are usually neither sitting in PR, nor in Marketing. They are in Product Development, Customer Care, HR, in a lot of departments.
To summarize: Our world has changed and is changing because of the Social Media Revolution. The old rules of Marketing are eroding, still there, not yet finally gone, but loosing ground. Should Marketing step back and leave important aspects like ‚Earned Media‘ and ‚Influencer Relationship‘ to others in the enterprise? No, I definitely don’t believe this. I believe our role as Marketers is to lead and orchestrate the change. Not through simply sticking to old ‚Outbound Marketing‘, but to open the whole Enterprise to ‚Inbound Marketing‘ and to be the force leading the way to a ‚Social Business‘.