It’s amazing how many people forget that the first term in this digital marketing tag is the most important. Social marketing is less about marketing and more about being social.

That does not mean that companies should not use social marketing to promote their products, but it does mean that they have to realise that they have to be very social for it to work.

The mistake many companies make is to see Social Marketing as a simple way to promote its products to huge customer bases. What they don’t realise is that Social Media strategies are distinct from others in that they require a genuinely different approach and one which has its own code of ethics and conduct.

Any companies that feel that it’s just a question of setting up a Facebook and doing a few Tweets, is in for a big shock.

It’s no surprise to realise that people are not online just to hear the words of wisdom from some company’s marketing director. People will only engage in stimulating dialogue which has elements of fun and being ‘sociable.’

Its why the most successful sites these days are in fact ‘social’ sites, as they allow people to interact around the globe with their friends, acquaintances and colleagues on a hitherto unheard of basis. In fact, communication has become so easy and commonplace, that the world is changing because of it.

But that does not mean that companies can barge their way in and interrupt these communications with sales and corporate messages. Some subtly is required and unless a tailor made approach is used, then social marketing can seriously backfire.