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What Do You Call Marketing with Social Media?

For about 4 months now, ever since the original SMO post on this blog – I have added a new category to cover all of my blog posts about social media.  In that time, I have quietly called it Social Media Marketing – all the while ready for someone to perhaps out me for not having a category on my own blog dedicated to Social Media Optimization.  Oddly, no one has noticed.  Today I came across Cameron Othuis’ smart post exploring the differences between SMO and SMM, and I had to nod in agreement.  The real power of Social Media Optimization, as I have shared previously, is in optimizing content that already exists online and adding hooks and features to make it more friendly towards social media.  It doesn’t, however, account for campaigns like the Intel Blogger Challenge, or Firefox’s lauded Spread Firefox campaign, or Nikon’s Stunning Gallery, or dozens of other such campaigns that focus on using social media as a smart part of a marketing strategy by launching a campaign based on connecting with customers, engaging them and generating content or discussion online. 

Whether you call it social media marketing, or co-creation, or digital influence (as we at Ogilvy have branded our team) – there is a world of marketing using social media that goes far beyond SMO.  And the fact is that no one yet knows what to call this category.  Social Media Marketing is as good as any other term – but at the end of the day I must admit that I have the "old school" urges to simply return to my favourite of all the terms … interactive marketing.  After all, we are still encouraging customers to interact with us for marketing reasons, and the ultimate goal of interaction is just fulfilled through social media.  It is social and interactive all at once.  Could it be that we all just need to come full circle and return to our "interactive" roots?  Maybe – but the problem with that is the same problem with SMM … the acronym just isn’t as sexy as SMO.

9 thoughts on “What Do You Call Marketing with Social Media?”

  1. Rohit – thanks for continuing the conversation, your insightful thoughts are always valued and appreciated.

    One thing that needs to be taken into consideration – What’s going to be easiest for others to understand and adopt? Are we wasting efforts trying to reeducate and brand new buzzwords? Is there already a clear understanding of Interactive Marketing?

    After think about this awhile I’d say that SMM falls under the bigger Interactive Marketing umbrella. Just like SMO can fall under SMM.

    What do you think?

  2. Hi Cameron – I think that’s a good way to look at it. Sometimes the terminology game is a tricky one, as I know you understand well. Your point about using terms that people will “get” right away is probably the best way to look at it. I have always liked “interactive marketing” as a term, but I also know many more people relate to “online marketing” as their term of choice. I have to admit, I’ve harbored fantasies of rebranding this blog to be “Influential Marketing” and just leaving it at that. I do often talk about marketing efforts that are not solely online – such as my recent post about the Met and their HD marketing experiment. Maybe one day I’ll actually make the change …

  3. I’ve been struggling with the nomenclature for explaining my work as well. I’ve been using web presence development because all of my strategies are about increasing exposure in as many areas of the web as possible, whether is social, search, or otherwise.

    I like your team name: digital influence. I was on a similar wavelength when I named my blog Metafluence. I think of it as behind the scenes influence. I’ve jokingly been saying lately that what I do is beyond marketing, it’s manipulation. In fact, I’m going to change my blog’s tagline right now.

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Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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