Humans are hungry for information. Content consumption via storytelling, libraries, educational institutions, industry publications, radio, telephone, television, movies, the internet, and mobile technology is evolving so fast, it’s hard to keep up.
The ‘global village’ is now at our doorstep whether we like it or not. People who are ‘tech savvy’ have been using these tools for the last half of the 20th century. Graphical interfaces and programming languages have made technology even more accessible to the general public. As a result, we have ‘digital natives’ who have never seen a DOS prompt (disk operating system) or remember IRC (internet relay chat).
It’s only now that we are starting to acknowledge the overwhelming speed of knowledge transfer and “e-relationship building” when marketing products and services to others. This is an incredibly powerful paradigm shift that has resulted in many social media debates.
Marketing content and social media/internet networking is no longer occurring in isolation:
“the most important aspect of social media marketing is to remember that it is just a piece of the marketing pie, and the rest of a company’s marketing activities cannot be abandoned in the clutter or noise generated by social media.” ~ Debbie Laskey, brand marketing consultant to non-profits and start-ups in Southern California.
The social media noise can overwhelm us, just like other new concepts. People usually seek guidance when deciding on the best way to cut through it.
Because technology has become so intuitive, it is very hard to prove that you can advise others on how to use it effectively. As a result, Social Media Consultants are not respected in such a new field of specialized marketing and communication. Many people perceive that using social media is just common sense. However, social behaviour has always been an acquired skill. We are/were raised by adults, not media tools and technology.
We must be taught to use social media effectively – just like we learned to read and write. As someone who observes children using iPods daily and helps college students set up profiles on LinkedIn, I welcome the term Social Media Consultant. We are all hungry for information, but we can’t start this new communication shift dismissing our parents, teachers, and mentors – just some of the people who formed our social world and set the foundations of our business perspectives. If cutting through the noise of social media means you can make some real dollars and build some positive relationships with your customers, there is no reason to do it without guidance.
Susan Varty, co-founder of Social Tactics, has been providing writing services, digital strategy, and technology advice to small businesses and corporate clients since 2006.