I have been with StepForth Web Marketing for just over two months now working as the Sales and Marketing Assistant. I had just graduated from university and thought I knew a thing or two about Marketing. Little did I know the Marketing being communicated in university classes was really more of a “History of Marketing.” What was taught was interesting: concepts, theories, ideas and maybe it’s great to learn how things were but if you don’t understand how things are then what use is it to you? It’s like taking lessons on how to use a DOS program or program a VCR. You know how to do what used to be relevant. Staying with the times is difficult in this day and age. Especially because what people did yesterday is SOOOO yesterday. How are you supposed to know what bandwagons to jump on?

I find people who don’t understand the social world are often quick to judge it. I have friends and relatives who instantly wrote it off. They feel Twitter is for those who are interested in what shenanigans Demi and Ashton are up to or what Lady Gaga had for breakfast. They’ve written Facebook off as merely a place to “Facebook Stalk” people on their weekend activities and investigate potential love interests. I’ve been learning exponentially about social media lately. I guess you can say I’m a late bloomer. Until working here, I had never tweeted, had a LinkedIn account, or used Facebook for anything remotely useful. I had no idea what a powerful tool social media marketing could be for a business.  Of everything I’ve learned, what I find most interesting in the wake of this social revolution is brands now develop through interaction rather than intended image.

In school I learned as a company, you had to tell people what you stood for, what your brand represented, and what your company’s values are. Social media has somewhat eliminated that. Companies are no longer deciding who they get to be solely by telling people who they are.  Today, a company’s image is communicated to us through their actions on social media, their interest in their customer base, and their responses to comments. Talking the talk is no longer enough. Now people can publicly call you out to ensure you do in fact walk the walk.  I think this direct, instant, enormous connection with people is so beneficial. Rather than explaining to people the persona of your company, let it be expressed through your tweets, Facebook posts, and blogging material. Recently I participated in a webinar hosted by HubSpot (http://www.hubspot.com) on April 13th called, “How Marketers Succeed in a Social World.” During Mike Volpe’s discussion (VP of Marketing HubSpot @mvolpe), he presented an example of how a company responded to an interesting tweet.

How hilarious is this? I laughed. I know nothing about JetBlue Airways at all but this response instantly gave me the impression they had a sense of humor, and they were interested in what people were saying about them. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s true. It has some truth to it because I perceived it to be that way. That’s what’s so interesting about today’s way of formulating opinions on companies. I’m not formulating an opinion of JetBlue based on their aircraft quality, or their customer service but their ability to connect with the public.

Understanding the power social media holds is so valuable for marketers. So don’t be afraid of it. Things constantly change, and if you don’t, you’ll miss the boat. I almost did.