Young whippersnappers getting their feet wet in social media will rave how new, innovative, scalable and engaging these platforms are. If you’re first business transaction was selling lemonade in 1982 (yep, that was me), perhaps you’ll feel like social marketing is a tired concept best left for recipe sharers and mindless banter about politics. Recently, I had a conversation with an older solopreneur about leveraging social media and other online tools to promote his business. He vehemently countered with how Facebook was ‘hogwash’ before confiding in me that his business has been dabbling in social marketing going on 40 years.
Hold onto that idea for four minutes and see how listening to five fables may burn your marketing model.
1. Social successes are gauged solely by social interactions. Joseph Knoop, the infamous Pinterest maven boasting well over 3.8M followers, is a living testimony that Pinterest isn’t just for ingenious types or bored soccer moms. In fact, the percentage of U.S. internet-using men that are on Pinterest runs roughly 5% as of summer, 2014. Sounds like achievements have been gauged on the pinning platform by intriguing pictures, not ‘likes’.
Mattia Perroni, CEO of Jumia, threw me an interesting fact today: Egypt has been the fastest Facebook growing country within Middle East and Africa in the last 3 years, but 3rd overall worldwide. The Middle East’s largest shopping platform has seen immeasurable success over the years, crediting a blend of Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and an aggressive social content strategy. Case study after case study is proving that social platforms work globally.
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All told, the number of interactions you get out of a campaign are more of a KPI, but definitive victory should be dignified by sales opportunities or revenue generated from said engagement. Interactions may enhance the likelihood of increasing sales opportunities, but if you don’t close any of those leads, the campaign is a failure, regardless of how many interactions were generated. Marketing does still exist to drive sales, right?
2. Marketing socially is about consumerism, not mannerisms. Consumers will already expect ‘in your face’ ad pitches, regardless if sitting at the local city bus hub, watching Lifetime or reading articles about Google destroying small businesses through the internet. Putting consumerism ahead of positive mannerisms will not build rapport. Social media is a discovery channel, and part of finding is engaging with customers and putting out regular posts.
Companies that go beyond the normal social media presence understand social marketing, reinforces marketing message and engage their customers efficiently without caring about remuneration received from said efforts. Positive mannerisms such as boosting social media promotions with emails or in-store promotions, or doing follow-up through email or phone, are suggested.
3. Google + isn’t an effective social marketing medium. We’re all increasingly aware how connecting with influencers and thought leaders has unbridled marketing significance. Even though there are a number of ways to social engage consumers, many take time, are quite tedious and have low success rates. Google+, however, isn’t a channel that should be ignored – especially when they’re gracing their search results with your presence. Shared posts in Google+, along with proper search marketing, could very well catapult business listings onto page one without spending one cent on AdWords. So no, you shouldn’t denigrate Google+’s powerfully expansive reach, nor should you digress from using G+ since it may be the only means businesses will have when Panda, Pidgeon or whatevertheheck kind of algorithmic changes beckon next. I discussed surviving the algorithm changes in detail.
4. Social media marketing costs nothing. First of all, if you’re a small business, you will have a tough time putting out enough posts and social media content if you don’t invest. That investment may entail hiring social media managers, writers, additional marketing help, and so forth. Although ad campaigns have an obvious cost-benefit to consider, hidden costs always exist when using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube – even if that cost entails spending your afterhours working outside your CMO role to post content or update subscribers.
An effective social media campaign is much more than one of us simply posting a random blog or FB post when we had time. To create an active and engaging social media campaign, you need someone who prioritizes and implements the plan, manages the messaging, and monitors the mediums for customer feedback. You’ll quickly learn that effective social media campaigns can get quite expensive, the reason many question using social media in the first place.
5. Social campaigns cannot be successful unless all networks are used. Interestingly enough, trying to become too popular may have adverse effects. Besides, not every social media channel will suit every business need. Not to suggest you completely alienate every social network not tied to Twitter or Facebook, either; perhaps building rapport on your more widely used channels should be your first goal since it’s pretty safe to assume a good portion of Facebook users also check other secondary networks like Orkut, Bebo, and others.
You get the point.
Thirty years ago, social marketing was handing newspapers out to passing businessmen (still practiced today). It involved lemonade stands, beauty shop babbling and rumor mongering. While my dear friend, a proud 64 year old solopreneur from the Old School, may not understand the necessity of today’s social marketing sphere, he is definitely still practicing social marketing methods from 1974 while avoiding social myths that bloggers smear across the digital sphere.
He’s even setup a LinkedIn account (against his ‘refined’ judgment, of course). ~