For any time-strapped, “I’m-responsible-for-all” marketer caught in the daily grind of juggling multiple campaigns, events, copy deadlines, art proofs and urgent emails, social marketing is often a bottom-of-the-list “to-do” item that provides an ongoing guilt trip. It’s even more of a guilt trip if you don’t tweet, haven’t read your Facebook wall posts lately, and don’t keep up with any discussions on LinkedIn…and that’s supposed to be part of your job.

Now there are many marketers who thrive on social and enjoy it as a way of life, and for those marketers, what I’m about to say will be old news. But for others whose lives are burdened with a heavy load of marketing through traditional channels, I’ve found that there can be a good deal of social marketing malaise, which often comes from not understanding the purpose of going social.

Simply put, social is like ice cream. Give your customers three choices, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, and you’ll get a mix of people wanting each one or a combination. B2B and B2C customers are social consumers…just take a look at iPhone and iPad sales or go to a conference and see the online activity going on during sessions. The premium ice cream marketers need to feed their customers and prospects is the different social channels they prefer to indulge in.

Some will prefer getting their information through tweets. Some, even B2B, are on Facebook a lot and don’t mind getting information at 11pm when they’re checking their wall posts. Others keep their professional lives separate from their Facebook and prefer to hear about your products, content and events through LinkedIn. Whatever their tastes, getting your information out in the social sphere in as many ways as your customers like to consume it is key to keeping your brand alive and relevant.

Relevance, like jimmies on the cone, sweetens the taste of whatever you’re sending out and makes the customer feel that you are in tune with what they like. The more you can connect socially with content that is relevant, the more your audience will stay tuned to the flavors you have available, whether they be thought leadership pieces, events, publications or new content. Here at Real Magnet, we’ve seen social become a viable means to boosting attendance at events, piquing interest in new products and features, and getting valuable feedback from our customers.

At the end of the day, the brand awareness you can create through social marketing is like Ben and Jerry’s coming up with a new flavor. The ice cream (social medium) is familiar and often sought after, and the new flavor (new content) keeps your brand relevant, interesting and something that your customers want to come back to. And while you may find that email, direct mail and website (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry) provide a better ROI (sell more cones), marketers shouldn’t underestimate the value of premium flavors such as AmeriCone Dream, Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) as the powerful sources of customer retention that they are.

For more information about expanding your brand’s awareness through our social marketing integration tools, contact Real Magnet’s Support Team at