Social journalism, a new term, which describes professional storytelling of brands by writers and journalists, is taking root in business. As the print media industry continues its downward demise, opportunity remains for many journalists in the social marketing field. Social marketing can be extremely rewarding work for storytellers.
I studied journalism and advertising in college and was active in the print publishing industry from 2001 to 2012. After working on some struggling publications across various fields, I started to invest a lot of my time learning about social media platforms and how they are used to market brands. Like many others, I saw this as a much more sustainable career than print editorial.
In 2012 after an end to my print career, I made the full time shift into social marketing. Two years ago my employer Wound Care Advantage had the foresight to hire me to help tell their unique story. Since then, we have been able to lead the wound care segment of healthcare into the future of social media. As a forward thinking healthcare company that was already producing strong graphic, web and video content, the transition to social marketing as been relatively smooth. We are also fortunate to have a leadership team that is interested in having a lasting business and customers, which is key for social to thrive in business.
Earlier this year according to ReCode, WSJ journalist Liz Heron joined Facebook in a news partnerships role. Also earlier this year, PRDaily.com ran an article about why you should hire journalists to run your social media.
"They have a certain skill set which lends itself perfectly to creating content that educates, entertains, and nurtures and will be highly shared on social media," according to the PRDaily.com article.
The trend of hiring journalists in the social space showcases how businesses are taking social media much more seriously. I believe that we are going to see more companies hiring writers and journalists to tell their story online.
What This Shift Means For Social Marketing
In my opinion having more journalists working in social marketing is a great thing. It mixes new ideas and opinions into the field of marketing. It also legitimizes the field and makes it a serious profession that is important for long-term business. Journalists come with an understanding of working under deadlines, telling stories, driving web traffic, the importance of graphics, and the ability to keep the attention of the audience.
Why Social Media Gets A Bad Rap For Business
Social media tends to still get a bad rap because some executives still see social as only entertainment. Because of the mass popularity of these platforms there is a perception that they are a way that people waste time at the end or start of the day. This is simply not true, and the way through this is by taking the time to educate your team on the value.
I understand how social content could look like fluff to some people. Here's the concept that is needed to help others understand.
The goal of social marketing is to provide your audience with value on a regular basis so that when occasionally you have something very important about your company to promote it not only reaches but also resonates with that audience.
This is counter culture to everything that companies have been doing with marketing and advertising since the start. Most companies are used to just doing what is called push marketing-a one-way message broadcasted out to audiences.
Time has proven that push marketing is ineffective and outdated. Today, in order to connect with an audience we must live in the pull marketing world-which is the practice of pulling in audience members by providing them value.
Map Out The Relationships
Thought leader Gary Vaynerchuk recently coined the phrase that social is the gateway drug to one-on-one interaction.
I believe in the b2b world we need to start mapping out some of these virtual relationships with key business targets. Even if the social interactions don't produce an immediate sale, they establish a relationship that could result in business in the future. This is the long-term approach to business and it is another reason why the ROI of social is often hard to measure. But please make no mistake the ROI is there.
However, we can't keep making the same mistakes that tripped us up in the past.
If I connect with a businessperson on my target list on social media, the worst thing in the world that I could do is send them an immediate sales pitch. This is what makes social marketing both so challenging and so rewarding. We must build the relationship first. The way you that you execute that is all part of a brand's strategy.