Remembering the Many Opportunities of Social Media –not just the Impacts of Advertising

Social Media impacts every aspect of our cultures, from business, politics, journalism, media, and advertising. Within just the business realm, it impacts research, marketing, support, product development and employees within the firewall. Despite the vast impacts of this shift “power has shifted from large organizations to individual participants” as humans connect with other humans, we often forget to see the larger picture.

Aaron Wall is someone I respect, he is certainly a domain expert in search marketing, in his recent post The Inconvienent Truth About Social Media Marketing, he gives a perspective –that’s limited from a search marketers perspective –is bearish on social media marketing. Several people asked me to blog my responses, so here it is:

[Social media marketing has it’s challenges, yet success should not be measured on ‘search marketing’ alone]

Social media has many problems on it’s own (and I’ll frequently point them out) but we should remember that while search monetization is a dominant form in our industry, it’s not the only way websites are monetizes, in fact the complete list is here of the many forms of web marketing.

We’re seeing many more cases where marketers don’t want to monetize directly with ads, but would rather be part of a community of dialog with customers, so they can listen to the marketplace and learn. Also, we’re seeing examples where companies want the message about a product to spread (but not from their own mouth) but from word of mouth marketing. Companies like Dell want to build next-generation products using tools like IdeaStorm –where the customers define the product specs –in order to build better.

In each of the above cases, social media is used in a way much more than just search marketing and advertising.

[The greatest opportunities lie where companies be part of communities where ads may not even be present]

So before we suggest that social media marketing is ineffective, we should first look at the bigger picture, and perhaps revisit the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto.

Think bigger my friends. (Update: Steve Rubel is)