Engagement vs. Marketing

29 07 2008

Being the new kid on the block, I have found that when discussing iRM’s objectives with people I tend to oscillate between the words “engagement” and “marketing.”  Initially, when cultivating this passion of helping other use Social Media to expose their brands, I used the word “marketing” almost exclusively.  I mean, after all, that was iRM’s mission: to help people market their brand using Social Media.  However, as I continue to meet others who share my passion as well as understanding my clients a little better, I’m beginning to think that “engagement” better fits the bill.

In “The Art and Science of Social Media and Community Relations” by Brian Solis, he opens a dialogue around marketing using Social Media.  Unlike traditional marketing where you are targeting a demographic and talking “at” people, using Social Media as means to reach a wider audience means actively participating in the communities.  You are not simply throwing out content and expecting the masses to lap it up.  Instead, you are a part of a ecosystem that thrives on sharing information in order to move closer to a collective resolution.

By moving into this space, small businesses as well as larger companies have a chance to have a conversation with the very people who interact with their brand.  The looming concern is the time that needs to be spent in these Social Media Communities.  For example, when I was introduced to Twitter, I assumed it was just a glorified Facebook status update tool.  I signed up for an account and rarely checked it.  It wasn’t until I started following and observing people, whose blogs I read, that I began to see the power of this tool.  Now, it has become a staple in my own Digital Ecosystem as I deem it highly useful for sharing quick bursts of information.  Also, I found that I wasn’t simply marketing to people about my passion (iRM), but I was engaging with them on helpful tips, advice, and sharing stories about being new entreprenuers.  Soon, people began to follow me, and a sense of community began to take shape.

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