I’m getting old. At least that what it feels like. The thing that is convincing me of this more and more is the rise and fall (yes fall!) of social media marketing (SMM). Over the pond, where they know a thing or two about these things, and certainly set the agenda for us over here, I am amazed to be reading so much about how SMM is ‘struggling’ in these days of the supremely heightened requirement for ROI (Return on Investment).
The ‘first’ internet bubble around about 2001 (and consequent bust) was gradually replaced by the so-called web 2.0. A better, more robust internet / website economy. Content is generated by the users of the internet themselves. And like all good fads, everyone flocked to ensure they had a ‘digital’ strategy. Gradually we observed the ‘fuss’ die down and on-line / mobile / search and all sorts of other ‘new fangled’ ideas either die, or be subsumed into the accepted almost traditional media scene.
Then along came Social Media Marketing, and off it all kicked again, but this time, the life cycle between the ‘Whoa! this is the next big thing, I gotta get me one o’ them there Social Strategies‘ exclamations, right the way through to the ‘Thats all well and good, but how do I know if its adding value?‘ phase that all modern ‘faddy’ marketing concepts invariably find themselves crashing up against, if not outright floundering and sinking on, never to be seen again, is super fast! Within 2 years I’d estimate.
Not that SMM is there quite yet. But even Social Media heavy weights are weighing in with blogs like Steve Goldner’s latest. He’s the Senior Director at Media Whizz in America where he leads the social media practice. His latest contribution to the debate is here, and is based on the idea that he would like to bring social media marketing to an end! It’s a bit more complicated than that of course, as ‘Social Steve’ goes on to explain, but he has also devoted a lot of time to topics I relate to myself, and topics I have been thinking about for 20 years, as I have found myself trying to explain to my customers why their marketing efforts seemingly aren’t working.
It all boils down to awareness versus direct response.
Essentially, the argument goes, your Social Media Marketing campaign is aiding your Awareness. If the ‘sales person’ (maybe external or internal) that sold it to you in the first instance is any good, they’ll also talk about things like engagement and trial and advocacy. And thats all well and good. I’d even go so far as to say crucially important, for your business and your brands.
But what about bums on seats? Ringing phones? Ringing cash registers for that matter? Heck, we’d even settle for a few more website leads that were a bit more likely to actually result in sales!
You see, that’s what I call Direct Response. You want to spend ‘£X’ on your marketing and relate it to ‘£Y’ right? fair enough. But it isn’t working out like that is it? And the things the (decent) media sales people have been telling you for years, things like you need to do it properly, you need to do it consistently, and you need to spend proper resource (time and money) on it are all still true.
Here’s the thing. Most people spend AT LEAST 70% of their time worrying about where to place / run / locate their advertising and marketing, and only around 30% of the time worrying about what the marketing should be saying.
It should be exactly the other way around. Here’s three ways to improve your SMM, and all your other marketing too for that matter.
1. Stand for something. Be famous for something, and either be different to everyone else, or be cheaper than everyone else
2. Work out either, what everyone wants (the Apple approach!) or who wants what you’ve got to sell (The almost everyone else approach)
3. Find a way to communicate with them. Broadcast (TV, Radio, Outdoor etc.) Narrowcast (Face book, Twitter, email etc.) or anything else in-between!
Even better talk to someone who knows what they are talking about. But please be careful? Twitter seems like its full of people claiming to be social media gurus, and everyone has an opinion on this stuff. Talk only to people who can demonstrate a track record. At least then if they tell you that you have to wait to see the results of your campaign, or that it’s doing your business good, even if it doesn’t feel like it, you can at least believe them.
Or talk to me, I’ll advise you for free, initially at least, and point you in the right direction.
At least study and learn and practice this stuff for yourself. There is all the information you need online (of course!) And loads of really high quality blogs you can subscribe to that will help as well. Theres a few of them listed in my blogroll below.
It’s not easy. It never has been, and it never will be. Thats why not all business ventures are a success. But there are well established routes you can follow to success. Just make sure you take them!