Watching people discuss using social media/social networks for marketing, I think there is a division that isn’t being talked about. The idea of “social media marketing” is used to mean two completely different approaches to the market.
This matters in business and in tourism, because your approach determines whose advice you should listen to, what strategies and tactics actually make sense for you, and influences the kind of results you’ll achieve.
|People argue over terms like “social media”|
versus “new media,” but is anyone
acknowledging the diverging marketing
The Broadcast Approach
One is the broadcast approach, focusing on reaching as many people as possible.
- The goals are maximizing total views and increasing the numbers of Likes and Follows.
- Those following this approach work to create viral content, optimize the times for publishing, and optimize content for search engines and social sharing.
- They participate on as many social networks as possible. When a new network appears to reach critical mass, they will establish a presence. They may share lots of prepared content or links, but seldom interact.
- This path is usually associated with corporations or destinations with large budgets.
- The intended result is a large audience that can be broadcast to, in order to achieve sales.
The Connection Approach
The other is the personal connection approach, focusing on reaching individuals in a meaningful way.
- The goals are building deeper connections with few individuals.
- Those following this approach work to learn about the people they serve, create content that serves their specific needs, and be part of conversations and exchanges with individuals. They may refer to the ideas in The Cluetrain Manifesto.
- They may use fewer social platforms in order to focus on quality interactions.
- This path is usually associated with small businesses and destinations.
- The intended result is a small community or interactive network that can be connected with over time, in order to achieve sales.
This matters because your approach gets deeply ingrained in you, and it’s easy to forget that others may have a different approach.
I just read a spirited exchange of blog posts that illustrated the two approaches, and how blind we are to our own viewpoint.
- One marketer said a single blogger with smart, useful content could succeed today, even though the online world is crowded.
- The other said that with the amount of noise online today, only slick budgets and “A game” efforts can break through.
To me, it’s clear that they are talking about two different things. They are coming from the two different approaches. I think the individual marketer who really connects with the right few people can succeed today using the personal connection approach. I think the company with the slick video productions can succeed today, using the broadcast approach.
Is one approach “right” and the other “wrong”? I don’t think so. Each has a place. I put my effort into personal connection, but that doesn’t make it “right” for everyone and every business. In the best scenario, each marketer learns from the best of both approaches, and companies and destinations learn to understand the differences and best applications of these two.
Most small businesses and destinations (under 10 employees) would be best to pick one approach to get really good at. If you’re a big business or destination, you should probably have people who can do both, as well as someone who can bring the two together into one integrated plan.
In almost all social media advice dispensed today, the author’s intended approach is left unstated.
The next time you read a social media article, try to figure out which approach the author is intending. If you can do that, you can quickly eliminate a lot of advice that does not fit the approach you’ve chosen.
- About the Author
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.