I love social media. I love meeting people and learning stuff and getting breaking news and knowing that there is a whole world of folk who I can call on for help – all without having to leave my desk (or couch); without having to put on make-up; without having to engage in one-on-one small talk.
But I hate what social media is doing to small businesses: Luring them into a false sense of security that as long as they have a Facebook page, or a profile on LinkedIn that they are ‘doing’ marketing. Establishing a perception that a free tool will take care of all their marketing needs.
Don’t get me wrong – Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instragram, etc., etc., etc., can be fantastic marketing tools.
Used well they allow us to build awareness, network, build communities and relationships.
But they need to be used consistently in association with other tools within the marketing mix.
What I constantly see are businesses relying upon social media for their marketing but who very rarely post; when they do they tend to 'broadcast' messages rather than engage in 2 way communication; and they have totally unrealistic expectations of the potential reach of that social media activity. Think about it...if you only have 100 followers, and only 10 of them see your occassional post; and if you know that you can usually convert 1% of your audience into customers....well, you get my drift.
Social media is just one aspect of an effective marketing plan.
Imagine how strong your Facebook activity would be if folk had just seen your advertisement. (Yes – advertisement. Advertising is NOT dead. Have a look at what Apple do when marketing a new iPhone. But, that’s another blog post).
Or how people would be more likely to notice your Tweet if they had just seen a poster.
Or would take the time to read your LinkedIn article if they had found your eNewsletter worthwhile.
For those who are musical, picture an orchestra score; the pattern of layers of notes for the various instruments that come in and out to create a harmonious whole. That is your marketing plan. The keyboard and strings can drive the melody - the main marketing message, the percussion to keep time and punctuate special offers, the occasional blast of a trumpet could indicate your magazine advertising.
For those who food picture a 3 course meal. It isn’t complete or satisfying without all the components. A meal consisting solely of 2 minute noodles is like a marketing plan that is all social media. Convenient. Quick. But no nutrients.
I can’t imagine a business that wouldn’t benefit from social media - used well.
But don’t be fooled that it is a silver bullet.
It is just one of the tools in your arsenal.