In this post, my aim is to present you with the real purpose of Social Media Marketing, the truth about many of the services out there, and the differences between doing it yourself/hiring someone that does not have any formal training or real experience and hiring someone that understands the mechanics of leveraging social media channels to drive profits and brand awareness. There are far too many novices looking to make a buck off of the bandwagon that is Social Media Marketing. So here is a basic breakdown of what is and what is not Social Media Marketing.
Social Media Marketing is NOT how many fans you have.
Success is not a numbers game. Wow, you have 2,000 fans, how many of them engage? Like your posts? Buy your goods or come to your shows? Are they fans or just empty seats? Again, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately for the business seeker trying to understand how to get social they are hit in their search results with websites selling likes and Twitter followers for low prices. I bet many try it, then wonder why it made no difference to their sales, and then felt disenchanted by the perceived ruse of Social Media Marketing. A fast spike in fans that are most likely not even real profiles is a poor substitute for the power of building a dynamic and engaged community. These are the fans that share your posts, come in often, tell their friends, and have fallen for your brand. This is what social media IS.
Social Media Marketing IS the quality of your fans.
Real fans that are guided to your pages engage and interact. These are the fan you want. The ones that buy, then tell their friends and promote you all over. There’s magic to creating that. Magic not found in quick fixes, but only in committing to your community. You would think that the larger the community the better right? More sales, more engagement. But this isn’t true. Recent studies show that smaller, highly engaged communities drive sales and tend towards more brand advocacy than larger brand communities do. This makes sense, due to the privileged feeling we get when we discover something great before everyone else does.
Social Media Marketing is NOT hiring someone for $10/hr.
Sadly there is a whole market of job seekers and misinformed business owners that are missing the key elements of true Social Marketing. As is true in all of life, you get what you pay for. Someone with a deep understanding of how to create your social dialogue, cultivate, and engage with your community will not do this for $10-$15 an hour. Your customer’s perception of you is very delicate, and any missteps will cost you. It may seem more cost-effective at the moment, but remember the disasters cutting costs have created.
Social Media Marketing IS an investment in your brand.
What truly sets the artists apart from the tricksters is the psychological and sociological analysis of your target markets and how to woo them. Some of the most inspirational case studies I have read are ones where the business owner had the right mix of social skills and business savvy to market their business to brilliant success by their own hands. More often than not this isn’t the case. We all have our skill sets, and sometimes branding and content aren’t our cup of tea. There is no fault for it, the only challenge is whether the decisions you make are wise or not.
Social Media Marketing is NOT a purchase to be made from a “buy now” button on a website.
This is the other one I come across a lot while researching my industry. What real benefits can someone have in marketing your business if they don’t even talk to you? I am appalled every time I come across these, and they can be pretty expensive as well. When I look at them, I think, what is even applicable to different business types? Many times parts of these packages aren’t relevant, leaving you having wasted your money. I find it ironic that “social” marketing can be so impersonal.
Social Media Marketing IS designed for each client after research and discussion.
A Social Strategy needs to be designed for each business as a unique creation with its own needs, assets, and goals. It is not an assembly line product, it should be more akin to a finely tailored garment accenting the good and personalized to your style. The deepest satisfaction is to create a dynamic and original strategy. There is nothing like it because this medium is ever-changing, growing, and opening up new opportunities to succeed and catch awareness. There is no one size fits all. The point of true Social Marketing is to embark on a journey of uniqueness and creativity, this can only be achieved through a deep understanding of the brand being marketed.
The moral of the story is to beware of strangers offering a quick and cheap fix to your Social Marketing needs. True engagement and community building take time, research, and experimentation but the rewards are powerful and long-lasting. What have been some of your experiences with Social Marketing?