It’s the time of year to reflect on the year behind us and make resolutions for the year that lies ahead. This practice is believed to have started with the ancient Babylonians whose resolutions of paying off debts and returning borrowed farm equipment seem very distant from the annual eat well, quit [insert bad habit], and go to the gym resolutions of today.
After a few years of making and quickly breaking my resolutions, this year I opted to make a new year’s resolution for social marketing. Thinking back on 2012, I kept getting stuck on a discussion during lunch at the Social Marketing Advances in Research and Theory (SMART) conference on the state of social marketing. Nancy Lee started off the conversation by making the strong point that social marketing has launched into orbit, but it’s in danger of coming back to Earth. The room discussed the many contributing factors: funding issues, unclear brand value, identity confusion, international growth, etc.
Social marketing has a lot to offer and 2013 has the makeup to be a promising year from new research and publications to the implementation of innovative social marketing programs around the world to the return of the World Social Marketing Conference (side note, have you registered yet!?). We’re already off to a great start with Nedra Weinreich’s Wish for the Future: Turning Awareness into Action post on GOOD.
My resolution for social marketing: to own our identity.
In its short lifespan, social marketing is responsible for buckling seat belts, reducing smoking, protecting our environment; the list goes on and on. Though, for all its great accomplishments, how often are you trying to explain what you do? Or my favorite, the difference between social media and social marketing? Clearly as social marketers, we are good at what we do… let’s apply a little bit of that expertise to social marketing itself.
Starting small, we can work on picking a common hashtag on Twitter to spark conversation and share successes, research, and news. While I’ve seen lots of #socialmarketing on Twitter, it eats up valuable characters and is 99% filled with social media news. How about #socmar or #smktg? (If you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to you because you are not on Twitter, I challenge you to join Twitter. It’s worth it. I promise.)
Next, we can try following Nedra’s lead by sharing social marketing beyond our community’s walls. Whether it’s finally explaining to your mom what you do or writing content for an online forum, there’s endless ways to help social marketing become more recognized. Then, with our eyes towards Toronto in April, let’s make the World Social Marketing Conference our coming out party and broadcast the rich discussion throughout the conference widely. The more people know of social marketing the better social marketers we can be.
What else can we do to own our identity in 2013? Share your ideas in the comments. Let’s make this the year of social marketing. If not, we may find social marketing quietly falling back to Earth.