by Nicole Ross
Just recently I attended a poetry event and met a “professional poet” who was very confident in himself and his marketing strategy. After a long conversation about his accomplishments and how he promotes himself, I inquired as to how he promotes himself via Internet. With a charismatic smile, he confidently responds with “Facebook.” Without a website or any other form of connection to himself, he was sure that Facebook was all he needed to succeed in marketing his poetry via Internet. Which is why I felt compelled to write this article.
Marketing or promoting events on Facebook is easily the most misunderstood business process that I see on a day to day basis. Now that Facebook has over500 million registered users, it makes sense that just about everyone with a product or service to sell has joined the party. There are dozens, if not hundreds of poets that are using Facebook to promote events in the tri-state area on a weekly basis.
The problem is that very few of these poets actually see the big picture. They think that they are doing what is called social media marketing when in reality they are simply social networking. That’s right, there is a HUGE difference between the two.
Social media marketing is when you are using social media platforms such as Facebook to find NEW prospects and eventually turn them into paying customers. Social networking is when you use social media platforms such as Facebook to talk to people that you know, such as your friends, family and maybe people that share some of the same common interests that you do. The key difference between social media marketing and social networking is that one usually produces MONEY and the other one usually produces CONVERSATIONS.
I will give you an example. If you watch any decent amount of television, you have seen a commercial where instead of the company giving their website, they say connect with us on Facebook. They do this because they understand just how powerful social media marketing is. Large companies have already figured out that Facebook has more traffic than Google. They also know that if they “connect” with you on Facebook, they get more information about you than they would if you just watched a commercial and went to their website.
Think about that for just a moment. When you watch a commercial and then go to the company’s website, they really don’t know anything about you unless you buy something from them right then. But on Facebook, when you go to a company’s fan page or request them as a friend, they generally have access to all the information that you are freely sharing in your Facebook profile.
This means they know your name, where you live, what your hobbies are and they can now send you messages to directly interact with you. They can also send you updates by simply posting useful content to their Facebook account and this content will automatically show up in your Facebook stream. THIS is why they want you to connect with them on Facebook instead of visiting their website and it makes perfect sense when you think about it.
If you are a poet, you really need to to stop and ask yourself are you social networking or social media marketing when you use Facebook. Then ask yourself if you “really” understand how to promote or market on Facebook? Just because your Facebook account has hundreds or even thousands of friends that you send messages to when you have upcoming performances or events does not mean that you know what you are doing.
You would be surprised at how many poets I see with marketing efforts that are very similar to someone that is trying to sell ice to Eskimos. What I mean by that is they are just sending their so-called marketing messages to people who basically do the same exact thing that they do. What you are supposed to be doing is sending your marketing messages to people who have shown that they are interested in seeing poetry or spoken word events in your local area. This will be very difficult for most poets because they have not figured out that this does not happen on Facebook. It happens on the search engines.
Did you know that every month tens of thousands of people use a search engine to search for spoken word events in the New York area? The simple truth is that the search engines are where you will find your prospects and potential customers –NOT Facebook. Once you let them find you, THEN you will direct them to your Facebook account so that you can easily follow-up with them and share your work and upcoming event details with them periodically as well.
I hope that this article has shed some light on the differences between social networking and social media marketing. I also hope that those of you that intend to be social media marketers realize that you need to stop wasting your time social networking and start taking steps to become a social media marketer. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear what you have to say.