We spend a lot of time convincing our clients *not* to follow their social media marketing urges. Why?
Because most often, they’re reacting to the social media bullies making them feel like they’re losers, and “leaving money on the table” in not participating.
Would you call a business owner a chicken for not adding a new product line to their offerings? Or hesitating in installing a new piece of heavy equipment in their factory?
Of course not.
Those are big decisions, with implications and commitments. Well, so is social media. The same maintenance and attention required for a new product or factory line is required of social media. That is, if you want to do it right and have it make a difference.
We found the below article, by David Murdico on the iMedia Connection blog.
We don’t agree that anyone – everyone – should be convinced to use social media marketing. The convincing should come from a plan that determines: here is your audience (online), here are the spaces where they hang (Twitter, Facebook, etc), this is the message that is important to them (relevant message). And… here is your communications plan to engage them on a regular basis.
We thought we’d continue the conversation David started. His article is in italics, our remarks in quotes. Apologies to David for Eastwooding.
10 Ways to Convince Anyone About Social Media Marketing
If you’re having trouble convincing your boss, business partners, clients or even yourself that social media marketing is worthwhile, then read on. Everyone talks about how social media builds brand and product awareness, but what does that mean, and how does it do that? The goal of any business is to create new customers, and the first step is to let them know you exist. The second is to make them your friends, because people buy from people – and brands – they like. That’s exactly what social media does.
1. Social media is where your customers are
Except for seven or eight people living in a mud hut in the Amazon, everyone is using social media in one way or another. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and mobile apps and games have all become favorite pastimes across the world. Interacting in that environment puts your brand and product messages in a position to be shared and commented which leads to awareness, interest and sales.
Agreed. But, where specifically are *your* customers? Social media shouldn’t be a buckshot ‘put messages up everywhere and hope something sticks’ approach. It should be laser focused. Using the right tool with the right message to the right people will deliver results.
2. Social media levels the playing field
My agency gets inquiries from big brands and small startups alike, because social media has created an even playing field on which brands, business and organizations can now compete. The advantage is still with larger, more established brands, simply because they started with existing fan bases and may have larger budgets for media spends. That just means you may have to be more creative and work harder to reach the same audiences.
It is nice, the small can look big and the big can look small. But, simply putting a hammer and nails into someone’s hand doesn’t make them a carpenter.
3. Social media is already helping your competition
This is also known as “the cold war approach.” Scare them with the knowledge that their most hated archrivals already jumped into social media before they did and are way ahead of them. Convince them they need to get with the program and escalate quickly before it’s too late.
Really? And if all your competition was jumping off of a bridge, would you do it?
An alternative thought… While your competition is trying to win the online war, they’re missing out on engaging the customers in their stores with good ol’ human person-to-person contact. Maybe that’s a better investment of your time and money?
4. Social media is searchable
Consumers are looking for your products and services. How are they looking? Most likely, online search is one of the top ways. Social media can affect organic Google search results as well as be an entry point to your website, microsite or promo page. YouTube is the second largest search engine, meaning videos get ranked high in Google results. photos, graphics, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, and other networks are also searchable.
Agreed. But, why not first invest in that website of yours that has bad navigation, outdated links and has the last press release from 2009? Fix the basics first. Meaningful content on *your* website – your property – should be a higher priority.
5. Social media content is shareable
A vital part of social media is creating and sharing content like videos, articles, photos, graphics and social media updates. The only way you can share a print ad is to physically hand it to a friend. The only way to share a TV ad on the TV is to Tivo it and invite your friend over to watch. Who does that? Nobody does that.
This point reinforces the fact that you’ve got to have a plan and do it right. One of my favorite quotes is by Walt Disney – who some are calling the first social media expert – “Do what you do so well, people can’t resist telling others.”
6. Social media allows for real-time feedback and interaction
Through the process of creating content, sharing and interacting, you’ll learn what’s important to your consumers. This builds brand and product loyalty as you jump in and discuss new ways of doing things better and measure response along the way. Smart social media marketers know when to stay the course and when to adjust fire. One way of doing this is to be actively engaged.
Yes, but no. If a restaurant or retail customer is providing feedback in Yelp or Twitter instead of engaging with the manager – you’ve already lost “real-time” feedback. First, invest in the person-to-person feedback channels before you go digital.
7. Social media is measurable
Analytics are everywhere and can tell a good part of any social media success story. Since the real bottom line is always going to be sales, social media measurement can help your boss and partners determine which actions and reactions are leading to increased sales and rest assured that you’re moving the graph in the right direction along the way.
Meh. Social media lets you measure potential. The popularity contest of Likes and Followers is only as good as those who will actually take action when you need them to. Stats feed the ego more than the bottom line.
8. Social media lives forever and is more cost effective
Videos, photos, LinkedIn updates, tweets, etc. stay online and in Google results for a very long time and typically require an executive order from the President of The United States to be removed. This can be both good and bad, depending on what you’ve done. But unlike TV ads and billboards that are taken down once the rent isn’t paid or print ads that are thrown away or line a birdcage somewhere, social media content stays online, working for you and reducing the overall per-unit spend over time.
See comment in #5.
9. Social media is one click away from the buy button
If you’re staring at a billboard, watching a TV ad or leafing through a magazine, you can’t just “buy now.” You have to go somewhere else. Properly set up and executed, consumers should never be more than one click away from the opportunity to buy – or at least learn more about – the product or service you are selling.
True if you’re a web-based business. Social media tools can drive people back to your site… your online property.
10. Social media marketing involves selling, not just playing around
Far too many “social media experts” are wasting clients’ time and money playing around with social media. Make it clear to your boss or partners that social media is a way of selling more products and services, not just interacting for the fun of it. Marketing is comprised of sales and PR, and social media marketing is no different. Social media initiatives and daily interaction should revolve around clear objectives and calls to action to create an environment in which consumers can easily purchase.
Social media can be fun, but – as I opened – should be approached with the discipline used when creating meaningful marketing programs.