I have already reminded you that social media marketing is not customer service. Now I am going to tell you that social media marketing is not advertising.
That's right. All the social media marketing going on--it's not actually advertising. Advertising is what you do when you buy a Google Adwords placement, have your promotion listed at the top of search results or buy a Facebook ad.
Social media marketing is something much more intrinsic to human behavior than that. It is all about increasing brand awareness through engagement; building relationships. We all know relationships take time. They are built on trust and empathy and require commitment. Social media can help deliver all those things, but calling it advertising outright is a stretch.
So, if you think you can create a Facebook page and people will come to it and hit "Like" you are in for disappointment. Without engagement your Facebook is nothing more than a listing in the telephone book--worse even, despite the fact nobody even uses telephone books any more, because people don't use social media to search.
Oh, I know YouTube is one of the top five search engines, but I'm talking now about sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr. These are the core of the Social Web and YouTube is just an ancillary of that network. And people don't search these social media sites in the traditional way.
Granted, for brands which already have high levels of public awareness (Coke, McDonald's, Virgin Airways) people who use social media can indeed search to find their presence. But for the ordinary business, especially start-up businesses, this simply is not going to happen.
It is incumbent upon me, as a social media marketer, to help my clients understand exactly what social media marketing can and cannot do. I must explain how it can best be wielded as a tool to increase brand awareness. If a client comes to me and expects advertising results from our social media marketing efforts I must explain the difference between these things and explain what is possible with SMM. If the client is content with that, we can do business together. If they aren't we can part company and they can easily find a social media marketer who will promise them anything to get their business.
Getting them the results they are expecting, however, well, that's another story.