"I'm not knocking Facebook or Twitter, but..."

November 23, 2009: 9:00 AM ET

Marketing online is about more than jumping on the social media bandwagon

By Sam Cece, CEO, StrongMail Systems.

A decade ago, the term social media didn't mean much to consumers, let alone marketers and corporate executives.

Cece says platforms change but good marketing principals prevail. Photo: StrongMail

Today, none of us can get away from the term – it's everywhere. Companies are jumping on the social bandwagon, erecting fan pages on Facebook, developing corporate Twitter accounts, creating groups on LinkedIn and producing channels on YouTube--all in the name of reaching, engaging and influencing customers on a more personal level.

While the game has certainly changed, it feels as if the social media pendulum has swung a bit too far in one direction. But by taking a closer look, it becomes clear that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Social media isn't new (email is considered by many to be the first social network), word-of-mouth marketing has been around for decades (look at the way Amway and Mary Kay Cosmetics products are sold) and viral marketing isn't a fresh idea (arguably the pyramid scheme, which dates back to Charles Ponzi, was fueled by viral marketing). More

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