Social Media Is Dead. Long Live…

 Social Media


Yeah, I know… It doesn’t make much sense… Yet.

Here’s the deal… So many people really like to categorize things. They like to put ideas, trends, music, art and     (enter your own example here)     into tidy little packages and slap a label on it. You see it everywhere. I guess that makes it “human nature”.

And, it happens in the digital world as well. That’s how we all came to know and love this wonderful concept called…

S O C I A L    M E D I A

But I don’t want to call it that anymore. I am SICK of that name and the connotation that often comes with it. Come on, folks… It’s the ninth month of the year 2010. Forget the buzzword, already. Let’s talk about what this really is and how it can best be utilized.

There is nothing new and cutting edge about building relationships with potential customers in hopes of selling a product or service. It’s called marketing. And it’s been around since before the day Al Gore invented the internet.

However, there are new tools available in the digital world that make it easier to find these potential customers and engage them in a conversation without being overly aggressive and scaring them off. Just imagine… You can find your target market at the precise time they are talking about the types of products you sell. This is absolutely amazing, isn’t it?

So, from a business standpoint, this is digital marketing… Or web-based customer service… Or part of the online sales process. What it’s not, though, is social media. Sure, I use Twitter to get my Breaking News. And, in that respect, it is a medium that is generated by people, so it could be called social media… But that’s not how we use it in business, is it?

I mentioned that I was writing this blog post to Tim Berney, president of Visual Image, and he turned me on to a new acronym (have I mentioned how much I like smart people?!)… POEM – Paid, Owned, Earned Media. This is what I’m talking about! I found this fantastic chart that illustrates all three types of media very well:

Paid, Owned, Earned Media
Click to Enlarge

When marketing your (or your client’s) business, you can control the Paid media (think advertising) and the Owned media (think about your own website), but it’s the Earned media that really counts… And this is the one you cannot control. But you can help to influence it.

Earned media is today’s version of the old PR – getting other people to talk about you. The thing is, that talk can be either good or bad… And a lot of people can see it… Immediately. This makes it critical for you to monitor the channels for mentions of your brand. You may not need to interact with every single comment, but showing some gratitude for positive mentions is smart. And, addressing negative comments is imperative.

Forward-thinking marketers are already finding ways to make the connection between the three types of media, and they are reaping the benefits.

What about you? Are you still living in the social media world? Or are you working to make your marketing efforts Earned Media?