Social media marketing: how many friends does your business have?

When I started this blog back in December, I thought no one would read it because I was not a native English speaker, and I guessed that what I have been writing about for ages in my own country wouldn’t appeal to an international “audience”.

The interaction with people via this blog, the “followers” (I really hate that word) and good old Google Analytics, tell me I was wrong.

When I started the Social Marketing Forum, I was doubting again. Who needed another web site, group blog or Ning community about social media marketing, right?

But I was wrong again. If you have over 600 members in 3 months and over 900 fans on your Facebook page in 2 weeks you must be doing something that appeals I guess.

I had this dream and got in touch with nice and open-minded people who were thinking a bit like me (luckily not entirely, knowledge is born in disagreement and discussion).

Who saw that there was a lot of BS regarding social media marketing, and that it should be less about the media and hype but more about the people and – from a marketing perspective –  about the business purposes that can be served by integrating social media in an overall, two-way and customer-centric marketing strategy (I like to call it people-centric). You can read more about that in the interview here.

Today, businesses start talking and thinking about the importance of content, community and marketing as a dialogue.

I have never understood why businesses had that broadcasting attitude regarding communication.

Ages ago I studied Latin. Not the dance, the language that was once spoken in ancient Rome. In the word communication, there is the Latin word “communis”. In English: community, relation, having something in common. There are always two people in communication and communities consist of people.

People make the difference, not technology

So, it’s all about people. I like to say that people are social networks and that the technology is merely an extension of our need to communicate, connect and belong to “a group” (yes, a community).

That’s what I wanted to make clear with this blog to marketers like me. And apparently some think the same way, if I look at the stats. And apparently there is also a need for a community where people can talk about the real value of social media marketing as the Social Marketing Forum proves.

People make the difference, not technology. People make technology. But it’s not about the technology, it’s about what you do with it, as a person and as a business.

How did I meet all these people that supported me in my dream of building a peer-to-peer Ning community?

Not in real life. Via social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever. They live all around the world and we Skype. Sometimes to talk politics, sometimes to have a laugh, sometimes to share doubts, sometimes to motivate and push each other (well, I have to admit, I’m the pushy one) and sometimes to help each other.

Some of these people are friends now. Not fans, not followers, not connections: friends.

I can only say this to marketers: if you want loyal customers, make friends. How many friends do you have?

And to those who might read this: join us in the Social Marketing Forum and let this conversation really going.

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