Small Business Marketing Blog

January 12, 2010

Do You Speak the Language of Social Media?

Filed under: Social Media — Robin Witt @ 10:33 am

Social Media is like learning a new language.There is a lot of confusion about social media these days and especially how it can be used for business marketing.  This has resulted in a wide discrepancy among  businesses with some being very fluent in social media, while others are still just getting started learning the language.

What’s your level of social media fluency? Here are four ways to evaluate your proficiency:

Native speaker in social media. This is a business who seamlessly uses all types of social media to tell their brand story. One excellent example is Stone Brewing Company near San Diego. The craft-style brewery and slow food restaurant in Southern California has really taken to social media. With six Twitter accounts, the Stone Blog, Greg’s Vlog, and a compelling story, Stone consistently dishes up interesting content for it’s more than 18,000 Facebook fans and 11,000 Twitter followers.

Social media as a second language. This is a company that recognizes the value of social media and is able to incorporate into the overall marketing strategy.  A good example of a company at this level is children’s bookseller, Chinaberry Books. They are having great success with their fairly recent expansion onto Twitter.  

Broken social media. This is a company that has tried to get social media marketing going, but it flopped. It could be for a number of reasons: poor strategy, too pushy, not committed, or didn’t know how to add valuable content. I am not going to name any companies here, but you can look at the skeleton Twitter accounts for examples of businesses that just gave up.   

Social media alien. This business owner is still on the sidelines thinking about it, but not actively learning.  They may be waiting for more conclusive ROI, or waiting to see if this new language is just a fad.  They don’t realize that social media is part of today’s language of business.

If you are not yet fluent in social media marketing, there is still time to get involved, but don’t wait too long.  I’ve listed two books below that can help you get an introduction into this new resource for attracting and retaining customers.  And if you have already tried, or want to be more efficient with you time, you can hire a consultant like myself who has already worked with others to learn this new language. The important thing is to begin. It is a new year with new possibilities. 

Looking for more information?  Check out Inbound Marketing, where authors Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah talk about “digital citizens” and describe qualities you should look for when hiring inbound marketers.  In Trust Agents, authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith share the characteristics of “digital natives.”  Both books are good reads that will give you additional information on improving your own social media literacy skills.


1 Comment »

  1. As you mention above, incorporating social media into the overall marketing strategy is key. Too many companies think of it as something separate, rather than understanding that it should be an important piece of telling your story and building your brand.

    Comment by Mark Lovett — January 25, 2010 @ 8:15 am | Reply

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