Originally published on Rutgers Executive Education Blog, Tue, May 19, 2015 Blog by:  Mark Burgess

1. Please tell me how you started out in Social Media?

Well, for me, social media was a natural evolution of my marketing communications background, starting with advertising at McCann, moving to direct marketing, then to digital marketing, and finally to social media marketing. One advantage, I think, of marketers in my age group is that we’ve had the opportunity to see how things have progressed in media—both for marketing purposes and social communication in general.

Right away, I liked the opportunity that social media provided in the sense that I could choose both my level of engagement and where I engaged. I’ve found Twitter to be a tremendously versatile platform for sharing. Twitter highlights one of the things I appreciate most about social media as a marketer—specifically, the way it brings brands closer and closer to impacting the customer within a micro approach as opposed to a sweeping mass approach. But B2B is just as viable on social media; one of the most rewarding aspects of my social engagement is the sharing between communities of professionals as we all explore this still-new frontier together.

2. What are the current trends in Social Media Marketing?

This is definitely one of those questions where the answer can change on a dime. First, I’ll say that whatever is currently trending, online communities have made it very clear that brands must engage authentically and in good faith in social media—otherwise they will be either ignored or, worse, made a public example of what not to do.

For instance, crafting compelling headlines or messages is incredibly important. But if you do so in a way that sounds forced, unoriginal, or too much like “marketspeak,” that headline will be dismissed as “clickbait”—a term used when someone is blatantly trying to generate traffic without offering much of value.

So trends can be helpful, but the focus should always be on creating valuable content that engages, and this can come in an incredible variety of ways—from a six-second Vine to an hour-long Twitter chat. And circling round the answer, the biggest trend I’m seeing right now is a greater commitment on the part of brands to tailor their marketing approach to their platform. Social media has been around long enough now that consumers expect a certain level of sophistication from the content put in front of them. You can’t treat Twitter like Facebook, YouTube like Periscope. They all have different rules, and I think brands have really come around to that in the past year.

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