Terminology…social ? marketing

November 9, 2010

There is a struggle to name “it” as social networking becomes a real component within marketing plans. In many companies the most important. Let’s take a look at some of the terminology being thrown around.

Social Marketing

I often hear the word social marketing used casually as a shortened version of social media marketing. It does not mean the same thing. Social marketing = cause marketing. If you use this term to describe your wonderful efforts in engaging your Facebook fans it is inaccurate. Unless it is a component of a larger marketing program for the greater good. No, selling vitamin water doesn’t count.


This is a great description used by marketers to bucket out where social media fits into any campaign. It is broad and more of a goal than a label for a single tactic. It’s what you do and want to achieve.


The term which stands for Social Networking Services is used Internationally to describe the platform. I have gotten word that the term in English it is used as a standard in Japan vs. the word social media. SNS Marketing anyone?

Earned Media

Used to describe the art of creating impressions, views and clicks without paying for it. Context: earned vs. paid media. This was coined by the advertising industry and typically used by media people interchangeably with social media.

Social Media Marketing

The word media will make any purist cringe. *cringe* Social media marketing is a standardized and recognized term for marketers. The problem is the media aspect of this label does it a disservice. It is bigger than that. Because it is so established I use this as my standard. However, I do believe the term will evolve and plan to use a new one as soon as we get something in place. So come on, let’s give it a name that does it justice.

What would you call it if you could rename it? What do you call it now? Please comment here and take the survey.


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