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Social Media’s Dirty Little Secret? Everything Is Marketing Now.

For all the talk about social media, few organizations are prepared to learn that social media has a dirty little secret. The implications are massive. Some people deny this entirely, but…

…if millions of Americans have joined social media platforms in recent years (and they have)…

…if the average Facebook user has 338 friends (and they do)…

…if mobile devices with all of their posting and publishing and photo and video capturing power are now in the hands of the majority of American adults (and the are)…

…then social media’s dirty little secret is that everything is marketing now.

And not just the stuff you consider marketing. Everything. EVERYTHING.

From the quality of your packaging to the helpfulness of your customer service representatives. If it’s hard to get on the Wifi in your shop or the store smells funny or the bathroom isn’t clean or the food isn’t yummy or the driver gets there late or the warranty doesn’t cover that or the experience doesn’t wow, you have to learn that everything is marketing now.

How Did This Happen?

When the customer became a publisher and a videographer and a photojournalist and a commentator and a curator and a critic with an audience it changed the balance of power.

The deer have guns now. Hunting for customers will never be the same.

That means everything you do is marketing whether you like it or not. Social media’s biggest impact on business isn’t the tools and technology it gave you to reach people. It’s the ability for people to connect with each other to talk about you. Every aspect about you. From the way your CEO gives a prepared statement to the way a technician smiles (or doesn’t) at your front door. You may own your trademark but you don’t own your brand.

The Upside

This is all good stuff by the way. It seems negative at first. Losing control always feels like that. But the upside is huge. You can make everything marketing now:

1. You can make better products.

2. You can reward your best customer service reps and get more like them.

3. You can make your packaging easier to open and more beautiful.

4. You can improve your logo, graphics and overall presentation.

5. You can preassemble your product so it cuts the assembly time for your customers in half.

6. You can ask your field representatives to find ways to surprise and delight customers that have nothing to do with what you sell them.

And then, in time, those people with their mobile devices and their 338 friends will talk and share and like and buy and you’ll have earned their attention and their loyalty. It’s not going to happen quickly, but when it happens you’ll never want to give it up.