When I present to an audience interested in using Social Media as part of their marketing strategy I see realisation dawn on their faces about half way through the presentation. That’s at the part where I talk about the variety of strategies that can be adopted by businesses that don’t include Facebook!
People have definite opinions about social media marketing and about the tools used to execute a social media strategy. I started writing some of them down so that I could, as now, address them in an article to debunk some of the myths or preconceived ideas about social media as a whole. Enjoy!
To succeed you have to be on the four main applications
This generally means Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and a blog. The tools you use to engage your audience vary greatly according to what business you are involved in. There are times when I’d recommend a client to make more use of Foursquare and article distribution on Wiki than Facebook. What I would say, in every case, is that social media application begins with a blog. All other tools used depend on that hub and ideally, none of them stand alone. As in traditional marketing, social media tools need support, even Twitter!
Social Media costs nothing
All media activity costs. Whether it’s in terms of time, resource, people or actual media costs there is an investment made by the user. Yes, a lot of the applications can be accessed for free i.e. costing only your time, however if you don’t know how to use them properly they will cost you more than time in the end. I advise clients with small budgets to learn how to use each application (which can be done in hours) but it is very difficult for anyone with little or no marketing experience to understand each application in the overall marketing picture and that’s when mistakes are made.
You wouldn’t try to develop your own traditional media campaign would you? You’d generally employ are marketing consultant or an advertising agency to ensure that you get the most ‘bang’ for your ‘buck’. Whilst few people can claim to be social media experts there is a definite advantage to using a social media consultant with good writing skills and a history in advertising and marketing.
If you really want to utilise the tools of social media yourself then you need to be trained to get the most out of them on a daily basis, to see the bigger picture and you need to ensure that you have the time to use them.
Writing Articles is easy
I always giggle when I hear a client say they’ll write their own articles for online distribution. Not because I doubt their writing ability but because online writing differs from the usual hard copy writing. There’s a different tone used and the layout has to be just so. Keyword density comes into it as do parent headers and sub headers. The angle taken to promote a business because you can’t blatantly promote yourself if you want publishers to use your article, what degree to niche your topic, embedding links and resources – it’s becoming rather technical.
Then there’s how to use your article online. It won’t work if it’s not distributed for online use by online publishers!
Setting objectives for your Social Media Campaign
It’s not just about registering with all the social media tools and waiting for your sales to soar. Social Media tools are used as part of a marketing campaign whether it’s on or offline and objectives to measure it by are important. Each business has their own objectives but sometimes it’s difficult to apply those objectives to social media activity as the tools are not always measurable. A good social media consultant will help you set realistic goals and attain them.
All campaigns begin with Facebook
Not at all! Facebook is a great social networking tool and does allow you to have a business page too but it’s not the mainstay of a social media campaign, a blog is. If you are going to use Facebook as a marketing tool and start a business/fan page you need to have a reason for doing so. Like all s.m. tools it’s no good starting on Facebook if you’re going to abandon it after a few weeks.
If however, you have a need to develop a community in the consumer market, then Facebook would be one of the tools I’d recommend.
It doesn’t work for business to business organisations
I hear this one a lot as everyone thinks in terms of consumerism and Facebook. Social Media marketing works just as well for B2B as it does for B2C. You just need to use the right tools. LinkedIn offers many variations between contacts and allows you to leverage contacts through your own community.
YouTube is great for B2B in terms of offering ‘how to’ videos, visual product trials and endorsements. There are many ways each tool can be adapted to suit the business need just as in traditional media marketing.
You have to have a gimmick
Yes, a ‘wave’ works wonders but isn’t necessary. There are ways to attract attention with the tools offered without having to be the coolest business on the block. You just need to think outside the box.
It’s all automated so why do I need a content manager?
Whilst some of the tools can be linked for ease of use you can’t automate your whole campaign. The whole point is to engage with your own community, one you built (by you I mean your business/brand/product etc) and for that to work successfully your community or audience needs to believe you are the person/business that they are talking to. Sure, we all need to save time but people respond best to personal communication. They want to be thought of as that number one client.
Commissioning posts and articles is fine but for goodness sake make sure it’s relevant content and well written. Google is penalising bad content now and that won’t help your marketing efforts. Besides reading a badly written article or post that barely makes sense because the author doesn’t speak your language properly or is briefed to gain a certain keyword density, will only serve to put people off you.
Content managers listen, engage and advise constantly on how you can best use social media to enhance your marketing efforts.
Why use traditional advertising if I’m using Social Media?
Yes, there is increasing resistance to traditional forms of advertising and sales eg: telesales and billboards, however in most instances social media work best when supported by traditional advertising techniques like radio or print advertising. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve and who your audience is. Mixing the two often increases results.
You can’t measure ROI
Of course you can, but first you must outline your objectives to measure the activity and spend against. Yardsticks for measurement will be more about the number of people/businesses you have reached and how many of them you are engaging with rather than hard sales figures but they are measurable objectives. Even articles can be tracked and content and response analysed. Google analytics can be successfully applied to your blog and PPC adverts. Increase in sales can be measured against performance without using social media tools. Just be more inventive!
A powerful tool for today’s businesses
In short, social media offers all businesses a powerful tool for use in today’s harsh climate but to use it correctly you need to learn more about it and adapt it to achieve your objectives successfully.