If you’re one of the many businesses today that are betting on social media as your only marketing effort – you’re making a serious mistake. Social media is not a strategy. It’s merely one channel in an integrated communications strategy to support your brand/business.
More importantly, social media requires a great deal of relevant content development and consistet distribution to be successful, as well as ongoing monitoring to take full advantage of the ongoing conversations you need to listen to, participate in, and understand.
We see so many social media “experts” claiming they’ve doubled or tripled their client’s revenues through social media – but not offering any of the metrics to prove the claim. It’s easy to double revenues when you’re starting from nothing – but it won’t be sustained for long through the exclusive use of social media, or the claims of today’s growing army of “experts”. Marketing, by it’s very nature, requires an integrated, strategic approach based on many factors that must be considered and engaged for long term success.
Besides the science of marketing, establishing a solid foundation of integrated communications is more of an art. Establishing an ongoing relationship with your customers and prospects takes time, and the understanding of now only how to reach them most successfully – but also how frequently to keep them truly engaged. No one thinks “I think I want to establish a deep relationship with the company that makes my mustard”. Social media may try to establish a relationship with you, but you may not be receptive or interested – and ultimately, the repeated contacts will cause you to choose another brand.
Consumers engage brands on social media for a variety of reasons; often to take advantage of discounts and special offers. Research has also shown that one of the primary places people look for these offers is in print media – not in the social media sphere. Marketers need to understand where your customers and prospects are looking for from your brand, and specifically what they’re looking for from you specifically. If you’re doing you own marketing, and counting on social media specifically to carry your messaging – you may be missing the point of what your clients want, and what they’ll tolerate from you.
Am I recommending you stop using social media to communicate the values of your brand? Not at all. But do think twice about how you use social media in your integrated communications mix – and use it strategically. Whatever you do, don’t give you social media presence to a volunteer or “guru” that doesn’t understand the role of these powerful channels in your specific mix. Doing that may draw negative attention to you, and actually hurt your ability to recover in the market place.
Most importantly, be sure you establish ways to measure your response and gains. Marketers call these “metrics”, and we’re dedicated to ensuring that each channel of communication can be measured to the highest degree possible.
Customer service is more important than ever in today’s economy. Don’t believe that social media will replace the most important part of your marketing strategy – delivering on your brand’s unique promise in a real, and believable way.
We’d like to know more about what you think social media is in your mix today….and welcome your comments here anytime.