SMM or social media marketing is about leveraging our existing skills and knowledge, developing social media skills and using the social web to promote and market our products and services.


Marketing has its roots in word-of-mouth, which has connected buyers and sellers for thousands of years. Today, many of us call ourselves marketing professionals. Reputations have always been based on experience. As mass communications, public relations and modern advertising became dominant, the conversations and individual voices that once fueled the sales cycle all but disappeared. With every professionally produced commercial, slogan and PowerPoint slideshow, the message was hijacked piece by piece, consolidating power and control in the hands of marketers.


Today, the pendulum is swinging back: collective conversations are back in play thanks to the enormous reach and discoverability in the online world. These individuals are creating collective conversations that reaffirm their core values. The social web is bringing the voice of the consumer to the forefront. Micro-blogging on Twitter and Seesmic, blogging, photo and video sharing, and the major social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace seem to be bringing the voice of the consumer to the forefront. So some marketing managers seem to be in a tough spot. Not only are markets – at all levels – having to deal with the complex and changing fragmentation of traditional communications channels, but they are now facing a takeover of brand messaging by customers who are remixing, rephrasing and publishing everything they can get their hands on. If they agree with your message and repeat it, that’s the best thing ever, otherwise it goes wrong very quickly.


Relying on the individual freedom and empowerment of the Internet, customers regularly connect with each other and share information about everything from tools and food to lawn care techniques and cleaning products. As individuals and groups talk, share their experiences and thoughts, they either amplify and help the marketing message, or marginalize the message and beat marketers at their own game. With far less trust in any form of advertising than in consumer conversations, markets are now seeing their advertising message subjected to scrutiny and verification, in forums over which they or their PR and advertising agencies have little or no control. This is a game changer – for the industries that are used to being in control.


This training series helps companies and markets take advantage of the social web by learning how to participate effectively, adopting the behaviors of people who connect online, and embracing the real power of the social web. It’s about getting used to not being in control – you can’t control the conversations – while being confident and influential in the social conversation and becoming an expert resource for the communities that matter most to your business. This training will make you aware of the importance of the connection between participation and influence, and help you see what’s on the horizon. You will see many examples of trends and best practices, as well as motivation to create successful plans.


This article is part of the Commanding The Social Web article series, which is public, free and effortlessly available on the web. I know you will want to explore and read the entire series to understand the victory that can be yours through your interaction with the Internet community. You are the choreographer of your own success on the social web.