Monday, August 20, 2012

Social Marketing: Hubspot's Sam Mallikarjunan Tells All

What are the most important skills for graduating college students if they want to have a future in social marketing? I’m asking three questions of some of leaders in the field of social media marketing and this is what I learned.

Today: Sam Mallikarjunan, Head of Experimental Marketing at HubSpot – a supplier of "all-in-one marketing software" – and found on Twitter as @Mallikarjunan:
Sam Mallikarjunan

Having patience, being attentive to small details, being creative and developing a "thick skin/sense of humor" and an analytical mind are the key skills in social marketing, says Mallikarjunan. 

People new to social marketing must be patient because: "social media is not an immediately gratifying endeavor," he says.

"It's a long, ongoing process of relationship building. Expecting easy wins is a guaranteed way to get frustrated and fail."

Paying attention to detail is key because: "People usually don't make big mistakes in social media, they make small mistakes that have big consequences."

Because social media is, to an extent, a discovery and entertainment media you must be able to create something interesting (whether it's unique ideas, interesting content, or just witty one-liners), says Mallikarjunan, or you're not going to be successful with social media marketing.

Developing a thick skin and a sense of humor is essential because every brand has its trolls.

Mallikarjunan also says an analytical mind is important because he has noticed that some social media marketers are starting to think of themselves as artists.

"Stop it," he says. "You're not so special that you get to argue with data. "If your data says tweet twice an hour 24 hours a day, don't argue that 'you know' that that will 'annoy' your followers."

When asked: What separates a successful social marketer from the others, Mallikarjunan says an understanding that social media feeds off unique content is the biggest key.

"Without some kind of unique content, you're not going to be successful in social, he says.

"Just 'having conversations' isn't enough if you don't have anything to say that's adding value to your customers' social ecosystem."

And he believes social media is THE key part of the marketing mix.

"It's implausible that you're going to be successful as a major brand in the future without integrating social into your regular media mix.

"I'll add that the opportunity cost from being engaged in social is higher than other areas of marketing.

"It doesn't take an expensive piece of complex software and systems to implement; engaging in social media actually has a really low barrier to entry. Therefore the net benefit from gains in social media are proportionately more impactful.

"You're already creating content, you're already doing customer service, you're already engaging with influencers, so wrapping these efforts into a social strategy isn't actually that hard and the consequences of not wrapping them into it are potentially dire."

What do you think? How important will social marketing be in the future and what MUST students know?

Related post:
Social Media Marketing: Mark Schaefer on What Students Must Know

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