There are gazillions of blogs on social media marketing and the impact of social media on marketing, communication and the way people interact online with each other and businesses. On top of that there are thousands of events and conferences on the exact same topics and every day new ones arise. Is there something wrong with that? No, as long as marketers get value for money and real hands-on advice.

The problem and challenge is that social media marketing is still for many business something new, difficult to measure and hard to integrate in the marketing mix. And many bloggers and events do not really help since they focus very much on the social media phenomenon and channels themselves.

What does really matter? That social media marketing is marketing and thus part of a global marketing strategy. That people increasingly control communication and your brand reputation. And that businesses and brands need to be more open, valuable, transparent, participative, listening and “human”.

Is that so new? No. Communication is per definition two-ways, people have been talking about your business for ever and your brand is not what you want it to be but what the people within and around your business make it. But businesses forgot all that.

Now they can’t anymore. Social media are technological extensions of the human desire to talk, be heard, belong, connect and share. However, all this happens in a many-to-many and often very public space and it thus affects your business.

What does all this mean for marketers and businesses? That they have to become valuable, human and sharing partners in that connected world.

Is it difficult? No. It’s about strategy, defining key performance indicators, integration, data and all other things marketers have known for so long.

However, there is one element that is becoming more important. It’s a mentality shift called people-centricity (or customer-centricity if you like) and thus a focus on what people say, need and perceive.

Marketing has become peer-to-peer. The crowd. Co-creation. Collaboration. Exchange. Sharing.

So why wouldn’t we apply the exact same thing to the way we, marketers, learn about this phenomenon, ask questions, provide advice and share insights?

That’s exactly what a handful of bloggers and marketers decided to introduce by launching The Social Marketing Forum LinkedIn Group two days ago.

With over 600 members, over 1,600 people on Facebook and a Ning community we try to get the hype and BS out of social media marketing. Peer-to-peer.

Want to join the peer-to-peer advice and knowledge exchange?

Connect on LinkedIn and let’s talk: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3091378

You can also check us out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/socialmarketingforum

Founding and supporting blogs include:

http://www.socialemailmarketing.eu
http://www.mindjumpers.com/blog
http://www.conversionation.net
http://www.smcitizens.com
http://www.conversionmarketingforum.com

Published on: 4:13PM on 2nd June 2010