“Social media marketing” is bullshit. If that upsets you, don’t read the following text.

What is marketing? Marketing is “the commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service”. And there is nothing wrong with promotion or sales.

But sales and promotion online is a delicate matter. You need to find a way to promote without selling, and sell without promoting. Sell without making a fuss. The clue of the so called “social media” is that you don’t promote your product. Your users promote it for you—if they like it.

Contradiction in Terms

Market communication about products now happens more and more without the corporation. We don’t need sales people sticking their head over our shoulders when we talk with our friends. The most factual expert opinion about social media is: That social media users are a bad target for marketing tactics. If social media were a great place to promote and sell, Facebook or digg would be an advertisement paradise. But they are not. Truth is: Social media users hate it when they feel that you personally target them.

There is nothing wrong with targeting, getting attention, getting your message out, there is nothing wrong with social or other media. On TV, getting attention is all you need. If you get your message out in print you’re doing fine. And of course, companies should use the Internet for advertisement, sales and customer service.

But if you want to get the attention of your users, you should have some presents ready. Give them the best TV shows, class A news, good music, new ideas. For free. Don’t wrap your gift into a sign up form or any market research bullshit! (Google, Twitter, Facebook are more reliable when it comes to collecting user data). An online ad strategy that tries to promote and sell in a too obvious way feels like this:

Sure, “the activity of attracting public attention to a product or business” in short “advertising” is doing better than ever. But it has changed its mechanics, it has changed its face, it has changed its name. We now call it “the Internet”. The Internet is advertising.

The difference between what we used to call “advertising” and the Internet is that online you have a) hardly any control over your message, that b) you can buy attention with money, but it’s difficult, c) that you need to provide support at the same time.

Why Social Media?

There are no social media marketing specialists. The right word for people that play tricks with social media is not “marketing specialist” but bullshitter.

There is Internet marketing. The question is: Why do the marketing people say “social media marketing” and not “Internet marketing”? Because “Internet marketing” sounds old. With their new Social Media Strategy packages they can sell Adwords campaigns and banners campaigns for Twitter and Facebook at a better price.