Check out this great piece by Judy Shapiro in AdAge about her struggles with the term ‘social media’. She says it better than I can, so I’ll just quote her:
The best construct I can come up with is to define the marketing world as two camps: the “one-to-many” camp representing the marketing model of the last 25 years (e.g. one brand markets to many people), and the “many-to-many” camp, where we reframe social media as a lead performer (but not the solo performer) in a bigger, newly emerging community-centered marketing system.
It’s not an either/or situation but a maturing of thinking that allows us as marketers to work both systems for optimal effect. At a 30,000-foot level, here’s how they differ:
We believe that most restaurants and indeed local businesses, have been doing “many-to-many” marketing for years. In fact, if you talk to most restaurant owners, they will tell you that the majority of their customers come from other people spreading the word about their business (referrals, bring along etc.). Judy has this table to drive home the differences: