Today: Aaron Lee, an entrepreneur and marketer based in Malaysia, who is the Social Media Marketing Director for Binkd (a social media contest campaign platform provider) and who blogs at Ask Aaron Lee. He can be found on Twitter as: @AskAaronLee.
Passion is the key to social marketing success, says Lee.
"Passion is what separates every successful person from others," he says.
"You can feel it in what they do and how passionate they are to help others be successful as well.
"As a marketer myself, I’ve seen businesses and marketers fail because they aren’t passionate in what they do.
"They know that social marketing is important for their business, but the lack of passion in using these networks and connecting with people makes them feel social marketing is a chore," Lee says.
"Social marketing is still being confused with online advertising, even as we reach over a billion users on Facebook and business owners tend to use it just to promote their products, get bored with it, and give up after a while," he says.
"Mind you, success is not necessarily about financial well-being," Lee adds. "To me, success is about loving what you do and being great at it."
Some of the most important skills for successful social marketing are "people skills," he adds.
"As social media marketing is built around the concept of interaction, engagement and building relationships, it is important for one to be a people person," Lee says.
"You can tell if someone is a people person through their interaction with others and most importantly it comes across in all of their posts on social networking sites.
"A people person has the ability to not only connect with people on a personal level, but they are also able to build engagement in their posts regardless of what feedback they get," he says.
Lee says social marketing is an "extremely important" part of the marketing mix. This is because of the three types of media in the marketing mix – paid media, owned media and earned media – its earned media that used to be the hardest to get.
Earned media, or word-of-mouth gained from people, has been called the "holy grail" of marketing because before social marketing existed, it was tough to get people to spread word about an idea or a product.
"Earned media is all about getting someone to trust your product, to support it and to recommend it even as a consumer and not a paid advocate, and this tends to be a difficult and slow-moving – but highly effective – form of marketing," Lee says.
"With social marketing a brand can now reach millions of people on platforms that are human and highly accessible.
"Today, it’s easier to be part of the conversation shared in the everyday lives of people around the world. People are constantly sharing product reviews, post, tweets etc. with their friends," Lee says.
"Friends are also asking for opinions before they buy or watch a movie, and social marketing (helps) make it possible."
So, what do you think? How important is social marketing to the future of marketing and what skills and knowledge MUST graduating students have?
10 Experts Weigh In On Social Marketing
10 More Experts Weigh In On Social Marketing
Social Marketing: Listen and understand, says marketer and author Kent Huffman
Social Marketing: Engage with your community for success, says Peggy Fitzpatrick
Social Marketing: Three distinct kinds of thinking needed, says speaker and author Neal Schaffer
Social Marketing: 'Be yourself' to be successful, says Ted Rubin of ROR fame