By Gloria Watson

When I visit a city for the first time, one of my top priorities is to find an amazing meal. So, in preparation for a quick trip to L.A. for the annual QRCA conference, I had to plan ahead if I wanted to explore the local food scene.  By some mini miracle, I enjoyed the best tacos of my life. Seriously. BEST. CARNITAS. EVER.  It was almost a spiritual experience. And like the Talking Heads song says, “You may ask yourself ‘well…how did I get here?’”.

In the past, I would have searched the internet and landed on a restaurant review site, some restaurant websites, a tourist website, or maybe critic’s top 10 list.

But I didn’t do that.

This time, I bypassed all the traditional media and went straight to Twitter and my social network. I tweeted directly to a heavily followed Toronto food blogger, @TOfoodie, and an L.A. restaurant blogger, @Sinosoul.  They personally directed me to @grandcentralmkt which is no longer just a generally cool food market in downtown L.A. but now also the home of my beloved carnitas purveyor, Villa Moreliana.

Guess what. I am not alone.

Social discovery is on the rise. According to HootSuite’s Social Trends for 2017, social usage isn’t slowing down but rather it is increasingly being used for discovery and research.   

Think about how you behave as a consumer. How often do you go directly to social media for recommendations on products, brands, places, or services before you even think about accessing web 1.0 media such as search engines and brand websites? Our personal experiences tell us social media is important to the consumer and when we step through the office doors every morning, we need to transfer our consumer expertise into marketing expertise.

According to HootSuite, marketers can get started with social discovery in the following four ways:

  • Get to know your audience and how they use social media. Match your strategies to the types of buyers you are try to connect with.
  • Be credible on your social channels. Share 3rd party content such as testimonials, customer stories, and reviews on your channels. Ask for and build this content. Be genuine and accessible.
  • Go straight to social media. Explore distributing some of your content straight to social channels. Focus on content that is well suited for the channel – Photos to Instagram, Videos to YouTube, Case Studies to Linkedin.
  • Rethink how you track metrics as more content goes straight to Social. Think about metrics such as the number of blog post shares or the number of Tweets that convert to conversations.

We need to forget the term “digital marketer.” Like mailed advertisements and cold calling before, digital media is simply another tool that every marketer must be fluent in. With so many new and evolving options, it’s an exciting time to be a marketer. Be bold and experiment in the social space!