The Two Sides Of Social Media Marketing

It's not just about engagement or content, but also data

by Jason Falls |

There’s an easy way to know if someone really understands social media marketing. Listen to them talk for a while and see if they ever mention the underside of it. Most everyone can walk through blogging, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the various tactical executions of social media. “This is how you can use these channels to connect with your audience in more compelling ways,” is typically the conclusion of their talk.

If they go no further, they’ve only gone half way.

The other side of social media marketing involves data and how you access, understand and use it. If you’ve ever heard someone trying to sell social CRM software or beginning the sentence with, “Tapping into the Facebook API, you can …” then you’ve probably heard the spiel, though you may not have understood it.

Tapping the social graph for your company (through the various APIs of the social platforms you use) and understanding more about your customers and connections on the social web is what we’ll call “advanced social media marketing.” And it’s not just about leveraging targeting information for Facebook ads, either. With the right developer and CRM system, you can identify common interests in your social connections, segment and filter by those interests and serve up more relevant content to groups and subgroups based on the interest and demographic information they provide to the social network in question.

This is why marketing alone will probably never be awesome at driving social for organizations. You’ll always need a fair amount of development and engineering capability at hand in order to harvest, filter and analyze the data at hand.

Think about that as you build your social media marketing team. Are you hiring community managers, content providers, analysts and strategists? Cool. So is everyone else. But are you also hiring social technologists and engineers who can help you understand not just what messages you can send to these audiences, but how you can send them?

The companies that are doing so are winning faster.

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).