Why use social media.
I was with a client last week reviewing their marketing efforts and we were going over a pretty long list of suggestions, when the my client stopped dead in his tracks and said, “Social Media, nobody I know has made a penny from it. Why should I use it? It’s a waste of time.” If I had a dime every time I heard those words…. So I went on to explain why social media as PART of a company’s marketing strategy is so critical to their success. Now I company that does not have resources to implement social media, probably has other more immediate needs to address and it is prudent for a marketer to address this. I have seen other social media companies push this on companies not ready for it, and it has been a disaster. It is better to be honest about a company’s ability to carry out its marketing efforts then to push something and watch it go up in flames.
So what exactly do people need to know before starting social media? I think the big key with social media is just because you are not sure of what to do, doesn’t mean you should sit on the sidelines. I was testing social media early on, and it was definitely an exercise in patience!! Social media has changed the web forever. Let’s face it, in the days before social media, he had what is called outbound marketing. This is where we used vehicles such as TV, radio print advertising to repeatedly hammer our message house, and that message was one way, out. Not anymore, the communication is two way, outbound and inbound.
A lot of companies still have not realized that they have lost control of their brand! Whether companies like it or not, social media is impacting business. Consumers, and even competitors, are talking about your brand even if you’re not. It’s up to you to join the conversation and work it to your advantage. It is up to you to engage, good or bad, and listen. Active engagement is part of a discovery process that can reveal truths far bigger than those we get from passively listening. This takes thought and planning, though. Some of the most important discoveries seen involving social media came not from asking “How do you like us?” but from open-ended questions such as “How do you feel about…?” Those who started with social media early may not have it totally figured out (like me), but they’ve done the test runs and are closer to knowing what fits with their strategies for social outreach and interaction.
The caveat is that merely being involved won’t save you. Companies that are early adopters of social media—and getting results—are also likely the ones that have been successful in their overall marketing strategies.
Bottom line is it pays to have a sound marketing strategy. Not sure how? follow the leaders and emulate them. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.