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Social Media Marketing Explained In 61 Words

David Meerman Scott wrote a post awhile back that I just discovered a couple days ago, thanks to twitter.  I am going to quote it here, since it started a cool discussion with a colleague over on linkedIn (don’t you just love the social web?).  This is one of the best explanations of social media marketing I have seen:

“You can buy attention (advertising)
You can beg for attention from the media (PR)
You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales)

Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free: a YouTube video, a blog, a research report, photos, a Twitter stream, an ebook, a Facebook page.”

Now, I have tried to stay away from the marketing side of social media in this blog, because I think it adds a bit of confusion around how people get into Social Media.  But if you have ever sold something, or want to market you business (or yourself!), go back and read the paragraph above again.  Seth Godin talks about permission marketing, people get too many interruptions, and there are too many media channels vying for their attention.  If I need something, I am going to ask Google where I can find it, and if I find a source that has earned my attention (like David Meerman Scott or Seth Godin) I am going to be pulled back to their sites again and again to read their latest blog.  They don’t have to try and get my attention, they have my permission.

The discussion my colleague and I got into over on linkedIn was essentially the B2B vs B2C debate.  Business to Consumer marketing using social media tools to target consumers.  Consumers of goods are more likely to be on Facebook, and probably have more connections to their peers to share recommendations, so if you are a B2C company you better have a social media strategy that encompasses Facebook, Twitter, and blogging.  Consumers will value the recommendations of there peers over traditional marketing every time.

Business to Business companies, like my colleague and I both represent, are different.  The transactions business make are bigger, the relationships involved are much deeper, and the risk involved is much higher.  Of course there is also the air of competition, and not wanting to put too much out there, for fear your competition will pick up on something you are doing, or steal your ideas.  I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for B2B companies and social media, after all, a business transaction still involves a person –  you are still a person selling to a person.  Social media tools give B2B companies the ability to personalize themselves. Facebook is not the right tool for B2B marketing, look at the audience on Facebook, it is not who B2B companies are selling to.

Staying with B2B let’s use an example close to home.  I work for JMP Engineering.  We sell engineered controls, automation, and information solutions.  We have a huge CRM database, and we could bug these contacts one at a time, interrupting them at a time when they are not looking for automation solutions.  We could buy advertising and spend lots of money trying to get more attention, and we could beg the media to try and get press time.  That is the traditional approach, but these days it is too easy for people to ignore those channels.  Obviously our best business comes from our existing relationships with known customers, we have built up these relationships and have earned their business over the years.

So how do we earn the attention of people looking for information on solutions we can offer?  How do we come out on top in Google search results?  Forget search engine optimization, content is king, and it has to be current.  To start, we need blogs written by our line of business directors, like, we need contribution to sites like by our technical staff, and we should be sharing case studies, and videos on YouTube of our solutions.  I am not talking about giving away our core business, I am talking about giving away just enough to earn the attention of a prospective buyer.  Social Media Marketing lets us do this easily for next to no cost.  And anyone or any business can do this.

Todd Youngblood has written some great articles on this topic, and of course Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott blog frequently on the value of social media and selling (2 of my favourite blogs).  The only thing I know for sure, is that if you still don’t understand the value of social media, and you don’t “get it”, then you are not trying hard enough.  You will be successful if you can do it right, and the definition of doing it right is not necessarily the same for everyone.

Posted in Business.

10 Responses

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  1. Ken McLaughlin says

    Big D: Seth would say – The real enemy isn’t priracy (people stealing your ideas), it’s obscurity.

    Great podcast interview on CBC radio where he talks about this.

  2. David Meerman Scott says

    Many thanks for spreading the word about my little 61 words. I really appreciate it.

    It doesn’t matter if it is B2C or B2B, people still use search engines to solve problems and marketing always comes down to engaging people.


  3. Brian Hughes says

    I am not sure who the “old dogs” are the Jeremy has in mind in his current reality (I hope not me), but the most important nugget in this discussion is to bring value and you will succeed. I totally agree with the point about continuous “fast” learning by Todd Youngblood and having an agile mind can only help to increase your value – I find there are few things that cannot be discovered, it is those folks that take the initiative to look and/or share that they know that will stand out as leaders.

  4. Damian says

    Good. I am glad we are in agreement about something. And nice post, I like how you took our debate and built on it.
    Todd – interesting theory on giving it all away. I myself am undecided about this, and I haven’t thought about it enough to say anything worthwhile, but I like your thinking.
    Finally, Jeremy where is the plug for my C.I. blog? I don’t see it anywahere…

  5. Todd Youngblood says


    Great stuff. The DMS excerpt & your commentary is particularly useful. I’ll disagree with you on one point though. I think “…giving away just enough…” is not giving away enough.

    In a knowledge-based business – like yours or mine – the main differentiator is continuous improvement based on creatively applying new knowledge. Give ALL our existing intelligence away, because we can learn faster than just about anybody. Giving it all away not only separates us from the pack, it forces us to keep on learning – fast!

    What do you think? (…and thanks much for the mention!)


    • Jeremy says

      Thanks Todd, great thought! I do agree 100% (although if you said that to a commodity based company without understanding what we know, you might be in trouble!)

      And I guess we are really talking about giving information away, since the knowledge of applying the information rests within the people creating and applying it, and then taking it to the next level. Especially in a knowledge-based company where knowledge is so specialized. People are the competitive advantage, not necessarily the things we can write down and share.

  6. Damian says

    Lol No Jeremy, I did not insult the almight Seth. Deep down, even though I hate to admit it, I think he’s got a lot of great things to say. That’s why I devoted an entire blog post to his new book “The Dip.”
    I just think that after a certain point, when you graduate to a certain league, there is no such thing as a free lunch. (Wasn’t that the title of a Godin book anyway? :-)) You cant sell B2B for free. It costs cash. And even if a big fortune 500 outfit makes something ‘really cool’ for free on the web, you can bet it wasn’t a contracted internet hippie writting open source code from scratch in his basement, it was a well funded, researched, and thought out tactical move. Can we agree on that at least?

    • Jeremy says

      Damian, I do agree with that, but I bet the strategy started years ago with one passionate person and one blog! Small wins got executive buy-in, then the well funded part came in to play (after the old dog learned the new trick!)

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Tweets that mention Social Media Marketing Explained In 61 Words | Jeremy On 2.0 -- linked to this post on May 13, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Todd Youngblood, Jeremy Sluyters. Jeremy Sluyters said: Social Media Marketing Explained in 61 Words (my version) – […]

  2. “They” Said It Better – Todd Youngblood's "SPE" Blog linked to this post on May 13, 2010

    […] came across this bit of insight via Jeremy Sluyters who got it from David Meerman Scott who got it from Randy B. who got it from somewhere, maybe his […]

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