Small Business Marketing Blog

December 31, 2009

Social Media Marketing in 2009: White Lies and Half Truths

Filed under: Social Media — Robin Witt @ 8:27 am
Tags: ,

Social media marketing in 2009 included some white lies and half truths. In a year when Twitter was named the most popular new word in the English language, there was a lot of buzz about social media marketing in 2009.  The jury is still out about whether social media is a beneficial marketing channel for businesses. Critics and fans squared off at one end of the spectrum or the other, concluding that social media is either a complete waste of time, or the answer to everything.  Now that we are at the end of the year looking back, it is a good time to sort through all the hoopla about three key claims.   

Social media is free. While it is true that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube don’t have a monetary cost, to say that they are free, is not entirely accurate.  Instead of cash, business owners will be spending their time, energy, and talent to engage customers on these sites.

Social media is easy. There is a sense that if you build it, they will come. What small business owners have been finding out is that establishing a presence on different networking sites and drawing followings is the easy part. Having interesting content and maintaining the momentum to keep it going is another.   

Social media is the new mass media. Social media doesn’t replace mass media, it complements it. The important thing to understand is how social media is different than mass media and not make the mistake of shouting out an advertising message to everyone.  Customers are getting really good at tuning out traditional marketing and at the same time are spending more time on networking sites like Facebook which added 200 million new users in 2009.

So don’t think of social media as a quick fix or some marketing magic trick. Steer clear of these half truths and white lies and you’ll be fine.  Social media marketing is different than traditional marketing, but in some ways it is the same, requiring strategy, discipline, and time to see the results of more customers and sales.


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