Social Marketing Doesn't Work
Social Media (SM) is a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand. SM is for social interaction, relationship building, discussions, opinions, and sharing—not advertising. Most companies still spend disgusting amounts on advertising when they want to say something. But this mindset is not only expensive, but reckless and unnecessary. The magical era of traditional mass media marketing is over. Although, commercials and other traditional outlets may have started entire industries (ever shopped at a supermarket?), new technologies have forced the marketing industry to reinvent itself. Having a solid product or service at a low price and a fancy commercial or ad is no longer enough to win over the market—sorry, Mad Men.
[Social Media] is for social interaction, relationship building, discussions, opinions, and sharing—not advertising.
The problem is that when “business” caught wind of a tool available that would allow them to instantly reach millions of consumers for FREE, they saw it as one giant marketing extravaganza. Well, I hate to be the ones to break the news, but SM is not a noun; it’s a verb. SM is an action. It’s something you do, not a marketing tool, website, or advertising platform. It is simply and purely, the ability to engage and have conversations online with others (when was the last time your marketing department had a real conversation with your customers?). So many companies jump on the word “media” and think, “Hey! I know that! Television! Newspapers! Radio! Let’s fill it with as many ads as we can and throw in a dash of content for flavor!” The word “media” has gotten such a bad wrap as a way to push a message onto the public—wanted or not.
Today’s smartest companies know that it is not enough to just have people who are willing to pay for your stuff. Every business has customers, but not every company as a loyal following. What separates your business from your competition? It’s not having customers, they have those too. They might even have fans of their business—repeat customers who prefer their business over yours. But do they have an actively participating audience who continually wants to engage with their brand and encourages others to join them? Probably not, and these are the absolute best customers to have!
Your company isn't participating in [Social Media] if all it's doing is broadcasting about itself.
Your company isn't participating in SM if all it's doing is broadcasting about itself. SM is like one big party that everyone with a computer, mobile phone, or any other web device has been invited to. If you only talk to people about yourself, pitch them on your new ideas, or always try to sell them something, pretty soon you are going to be left standing alone by the punch bowl complaining about how lame the party is. Think about it, would you ever in a million years expect someone to be your friend if you walked up to them with headphones on and screamed at them about how amazing you are? The “real world” doesn’t work like that and neither does the “SM world” (psst, they are actually both the “real world”).
It’s easy to think that SM is an advertising tool used to get sales and increasing your companies bottom line, but those are the side effects of effectively communicating an idea and have it accepted by your audience. Some marketers and business owners focus so hard on selling products that they forget that sales come from real people, and then they wonder why they’ve failed. Social Media Marketing doesn’t work. Social Media does.