When it comes to businesses, can we stop calling what they do ‘social media?’

What businesses do is “digital marketing.” It is not “social media.” There is nothing at all social about a business using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest to generate revenue. They aren’t trying to be your friend. They are trying to make money. That’s what businesses do.
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Perhaps they are using social channels to provide a special offer to you, or to talk about their product or service in a way that makes it seem different and better than the competition. They may also want to share their expertise with you, to show you that they know what they are talking about in case you are interested in purchasing their product or service now or in the future.

If you go to a car dealer and the salesperson is super-friendly and super-helpful, is he being social? Nope. He is being a good salesperson. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. On the contrary. Good, honest salespeople make life better for consumers.

But being “social” means visiting with friends and family, and interacting on an honest, human level with no strings attached. It does not involve commerce. It does not involve brands. There is no quid pro quo. Being “social” is not about selling, it’s about living. There’s an important distinction.

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