Introduction to social media marketing

It's really important to understand that the Traditional Marketing Methods are not what Social Media Marketing is all about.

NanMacBy Nancy Mac, Spark Gap Marketing — Hey Neighbor!

I'm all agog at the social media mindset in the marketing world. Did you know there are people offering certification in Social Media Marketing? This makes me laugh. A lot. Uproariously, in fact.

Marketing geeks in the business world are yammering back and forth. The tweets rip. The blogs are on fire. Analyzing the trends. The numbers. The percentages doing what and how. What utility? Say this! NO! Say that! Be Authentic. Be Transparent. Yada yada yada. It's amazing how complex people want to make things. The technology and getting used to the environment are the hard part. Twitter and Facebook had me scratching my head just trying to figure out what went where and how it did what it did so I could do what I do.

But once you realize where to type what, the rest of it is pretty simple. As I told someone who was chatting with me on Facebook, think of it like this: Twitter is a small title or headline and mostly about other people. Facebook is a medium size story about you AND other people. Your blog or Web site is the large version and it's about you. Small, Medium, and Large. Them, Us, and Me. Easy.

But then what (and how!) do you say what you need to say?

It kind of boils down to doing what your Mama told you: Be yourself. Be polite. Tell the truth but don't talk about the family. And keep your underwear clean, just in case.


It's really important to understand that the Traditional Marketing Methods are not what Social Media Marketing is all about. Being social, this is like hanging over the back fence and talking to your neighbor about the neighborhood. These days, however, the neighborhood is pretty big. Still, all you have to do is talk, listen, and share your story. Tell them about a good deal you found, offer a bit of news, or maybe find out how the people down the street are doing after their house fell on the Witch. We may not be in Kansas anymore, but we're still people.

You know how you give your neighbor a better deal on your product or service because, well, they're your neighbor or your fishin' bud? Social Media is the kind of same thing. Sounds scary until you realize you'll be getting a better deal because you're someone else's neighbor or fishin' bud.

Unfortunately, we're a culture used to experts. They offer us validation. As a culture, we're used to hiding behind corporate speak and putting forward a "professional" demeanor on our public face. Social media blurs the line between Business and Personal and I think that's what all the frantic talk is about. I think a lot of people are scared. We get scared of being real. We get scared of being laughed at. Rejected, or just plain ol' looking stupid. It does help to bounce the ideas off of someone before you act. But that's always been true. So, get your knickers out of a twist. Social Media is nothing to be scared about; it's just being a good neighbor.

When it comes to Social Media Marketing, however, you are the expert of you. This is why the idea of being certified in SMM is so funny. You might need lessons in grammar, or you might want to understand the best way to tell your story, but no one can certify you in the language of you and your business.

The nifty thing for boaters? The Marine Industry is an industry built on stories. It's an industry that is full of grandfathers and fishing, learning to water ski, exploring the coves, and so much more. So go ahead and tell your story. Ask for other stories and what makes it fun. Talk about the future with bright ideas of where and how to boat. But it's important, now more than ever, to get women involved. Women control the household budget in over 80% of American homes.

Social Media. It's an unprecedented opportunity unlike we've ever had before. From a larger or spiritual perspective, (insert choral burst) I think it's wonderful. Being a dangerous, freethinking renegade from the corporate world who asks far too many inappropriate questions, I'm having the time of my life.


  1. Nancy,

    Thank you and amen. A breath of fresh air. As a former print boating jounalist, and long-time boatbuilding consultant, I've been confused and overwhelmed by the claims made on behalf of "social Media" as it relates to marine marketing, as well as by the plethora of would-be "experts" who've popped up. You break it down to understandable basics and principles. And I think you make a really good point: the social media present an opportunity for younger people in the industry to link up with those of us who are older than dirt, and hear the stories and cantankerous opinions born of years of hard won experience. On the other hand, it's an opportunity for us to gain the fresh perspective of those younger and newer to the business. You know, I am beginning to think it's a good development. Thanks again for the first really incisive comment on all of this that I've seen.

  2. You look like a model for a shampoo advertisement. It's difficult to take you seriously.

  3. It is my sworn duty to warn you that attractive and intelligent women the world over might stomp their feet and draw their swords at your comment. (If I don' t, they'll come after me!!!) Duty discharged and I get your drift though. I appreciate the compliment.

    In talking about Social Media and being neighbors, it's really about our stories… here's what I mean: When my son was 6 years old, I started making noises about cutting my long hair. It was inappropriate for women of a certain age, people wouldn't take me serious at work, and all the usual bits. My lil' first grader sat me down and, very gravely, asked me not to cut my hair.

    He said" If you cut your hair, you'll look like all the other mothers and I won't be able to find you."

    I realized what he meant and I promised that ernest little face peering up at me seriously (he looked like the kid on Jerry Maguire) that I wouldn't cut my hair. Not ever.

    My son, now 24, has always been able to find me when we get separated at, say, the store, mall, or a large event. The reason this was a matter of grave importance is that he's legally blind and he defines his world only by shape and color. He can "see" my hair.

  4. You are a wonderful storyteller! I see boating, and social media in a new light. Well done! Bravo to beautiful intelligence. And Phil: Great insights for all businesses today.

  5. Nancy,
    Wonderful article! I admit that I am confused how to use SMM most effectively with the limited time available. I appreciate the dedication of the Boating Industry staff to make Boating more educational and memorable for all boaters
    Thank you so much,
    Sincerely, Brian

  6. Yes Nancy.... KISS - Keep it simple. Use the "tools" to reach your audience. Employ a system that is easy to use and small in time requirements.

    For me, it’s boating for the lifestyle and broadcast media as a career choice – life is good. I use broadcast media for business talk radio and do boaters talk radio on weekends. On the air for almost 10 years, today we broadcast from Newport Beach, CA. That said… this ONLY qualifies me to know what I DON’T know… in SOCIAL media.

    I do however recognize the importance and necessity of social media – and I am learning every day. I recently started using TRAFFIC GEYSER (SMMM) in cyber delivery for audio and video. Now, my reach in one week rivals what I can accomplish in a year by traditional marketing methods… and my cost of marketing has been cut by over 70%.

    When I do “LIVE” remote broadcasts at boat shows, I will archive them on my website and use “key words” to POST broadcasts to 130 different Social Media environments. We will begin with the 2011 Miami Boat Show in February.

    Needless to say, I am very excited about Social Media Marketing Machine from Traffic Geyser and plan to become an affiliate marketer next year – perhaps it would be worth a look, by you?

    Congratulations on choosing Social Media as a career. I implore you to get the message out to your friends and clients and drag the marine industry into the 21st century with it.

    Once there, these guys and gals will thank you forever. Time and money saved – profits up, even in this (marine) industry and market. As they say… you can advertise your business or advertise your business FOR SALE.

    Scott Smith
    Business Talk Radio
    Boaters Talk Radio

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