If you want a simple understanding of the difference between advertising and social media, look no farther than some of the terminology we use to describe what we do.
In advertising we have the target audience. These are the people we hope to hit with our messages. We don’t know any of these people personally, but that’s OK. We know where they are or where they’re supposed to be and when they least expect it we’ll load, aim, fire.
In social media, we have our community. These are folks we actually have a relationship with. We listen to them, interact, share stories, and offer up content that we’ve actually taken the time to know they’ll be interested in.
In advertising we have penetration. In social media we have conversation. In the former we force our way into people’s lives. With the latter we ask to be invited or invite them to join us.
In advertising we have the roadblock, a technique designed to intercept that elusive target audience in such a way that they can’t avoid an encounter.
In social media, instead of this holdup we have the Tweetup. We don’t apprehend our prospective customers; we host a social event they might actually want to attend.
In advertising we have share of voice, a measurement of how loud we can shout in comparison to our competitors.
In social media we just have sharing. We offer up content, links, utility, relevant information and whatever expertise might help our fans and followers.
In advertising we have impacts. How many times did we whack someone with our message.
In social media we have updates. How frequently do we keep them informed and in the loop.
One of the big differences between advertising and social media is that in advertising we create messages. In social media we learn to listen. Perhaps we should listen to some of the words we use to describe what we do.
Can you think of any other terms that illuminate the difference?