A recent “Onion” article took a funny stab at Social Media tools and hype. The piece was almost as funny as people belittling the cost and labor of Social Media Marketing, PR, and Business Development. This month I have heard or read the following SM myths; maybe we can dispel some of them here.
1. Social Media; It’s Free (not a chance)
Social media costs time and money. Social media is about as free as manufacturing, shipping, marketing, advertising, sales, public relations, research, or any other function of your business. You may be able to do it yourself if you are willing to spend day after day planning engagement and interacting with people, or you can save some time by hiring someone who has already put in the hours and can share shortcuts, tools, and personal connections. There are economies of scale for the SM professional. Those economies save you time and money. People who really understand social media are going to be busy and are going to get results, and they are going to bill accordingly.
2. Social Media is Very Easy (right!?!)
Social media marketing and PR is real work. You need to find, work with, create and micro-cast pertinent content numerous times daily. The speed of technology and information in the social media world is intense. You need to read, learn, solve technical puzzles, re-learn, and engage the right people at the right time. You need to do this daily for each client. Social Media is about as easy as any profession is easy. If Social Media is so easy why do millions of businesses and people who register for Twitter never get out a Tweet? Why do so many business and personal blogs get one entry per year? This is real work for business/marketing professionals.
3. Social Media Is A Magic Pill and You’ll Feel Better In The Morning
SM marketing can takes months or longer. You’ll have a million followers by next month, your YouTube video will go viral by day two, and your blog will be as widely read as the New York Times after your 2nd post. Not quite! The good news is with a plan and professional help you will be moving to the proper platforms faster and more efficiently. You have spent years and hard cash building your business; it’s not time to let competitors pass you by because you want to stick only to direct mail, newspapers, and the way you have always done marketing. This is 2010 and your customers want and will be connected to, engaged by, and validated by you … or your competition.
4. Social Media is Best When Using an Intern or Student (Really!?!)
Social media is not all that difficult to mess-up. Who writes your press releases? Would you contract your advertising copy to a High School kid or part time college student. No offense meant to either of these teenagers. We know they do “know” everything. Just what is the value of your reputation you have worked for and earned? Kids do spend a lot of their life on Facebook. Sorry, that does not make them competent marketers, writers, strategists, and PR professionals. Would you let a teen intern write your LinkedIn bio?
5. Just Set-Up Facebook and Twitter and That’s All You Need to Do
Nice try. What have you got to say? Having a Twitter profile or Facebook page are the wheels on the car. These don’t make you special or get your driving in the fast lane on the highway. You need to say something interesting, important, or humorous. And you are now competing with millions of other social media voices. Social media is often about making connections with real people. Customers, community members, influential’s, traditional media, business leaders, potential customers, and the right targets for your business. You can’t just put that Twitter or Facebook widget on your company web page or door and call it a “social media strategy.”
6. Social Marketing Works For Every Type of Business I doubt it can work for all business types, locations, and sizes. Unless you are foolish and abusive, social media marketing certainly can’t hurt. Social Media heavy users are driving the market at this time. Follow any Twitter stream and you will see Ipad news, Smartphone reviews, tech writers, and marketing conferences. Brick and mortar or service businesses need to be creative and keep conversations going. You can’t just sell the “2 for 1 special” or the 50% off sale. “Unfollowing” happens for being crass or spammy. And it should. Customers want personality, humor, value, validation, listening, and to be engaged before getting the hard sell. What are you looking to get out of social media tactics? If nothing else the right social media strategy can give you and added value “word of mouth” from the most influential target demographics.
It has become impossible to get through the day without hearing a personal or business social media story. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs. What custom programs are needed for your business? This is the time to re-shape your business marketing and get into the business/social media echo-chamber.