A recent article in the Baltimore Sun explained that the social media bandwagon is hitting the Baltimore area hard. The article described how local businesses and non-profits are realizing the importance of a social media strategy and are actually looking for full-time employees to manage these properties. As a recent college graduate, I can attest to the “gold rush” of my generation to social media. While it may seem exciting to many of my peers that companies are hiring full-time social media employees, my experience with Right Source Marketing has taught me that social media can’t stand alone without a solid content marketing strategy.
Most people know by now that social media has several very helpful functions, including:
- Monitoring online reputation
- Responding to customer concerns
- Providing company updates
- Distributing discounts/coupons
- Driving traffic to your website
- Building brand loyalty
- Fostering goodwill
All of these functions, as discussed in the Sun article, are wonderful. All will help your business better compete with other local businesses and make it easier to engage consumers. But social media is only part of a larger content marketing strategy. You will only get results when you have the right strategy guiding your social media campaign (see Mike Sweeney’s post, Don’t Let the Social Media Tail Wag the Content Marketing Dog, for more).
Through a content marketing campaign that integrates several different interactive marketing techniques—social media, SEO, and blogging, for example—organizations can reach a larger audience, engage more influencers, and generate more leads. Don’t go out right this second and hire any recent college grad with “social media” on his resume; hire someone who knows how to integrate all these parts into one cohesive strategy.
I can tell you from my own experience that not all Generation Yers are created equal in the way of truly understanding social media strategy—some of us know that marketing strategy cannot be limited to 140 characters and cannot be measured by how many “likes” it receives, and that’s who you want to hire.
So, Baltimore, or any city seeing similar trends, you’re on the right track—just keep going. As the article says, “Just because somebody knows how to set up a Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t mean you should turn over your 100-year brand to them.” Social media involves more than just updating statuses and posting pictures, just as marketing strategy involves more than just social media.