I keep hearing that old song by David Bowie, or Vanilla Ice for you younger folks. Man, are marketing directors under some serious pressure these days! With all the hype going on around social media, CEOs are pushing harder than ever for marketing departments to implement online marketing strategies. Here’s what I keep hearing: “Everybody’s doing it.” “I just went to a (blank) industry conference and the keynote said it’s critical to my sales growth.” “Let’s make sure we’re not the last one on the bandwagon.” “Just throw something up there.” “I want it done within the month, no excuses.” “I don’t care if it’s a Facebook Group, a corporate Twitter personality or if we start blogging…just get it done!”
The Problem is…
Once again, like website design , email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC or Google Adwords), we have key decision makers and well-meaning marketing managers being pushed into new technology and strategies they don’t completely understand. I mean if Twitter is free and takes less than 5 minutes to setup, why can’t I have my corporate Twitter account within a month? Or, if Facebook is free and I could use the Causes page to raise money for my non-profit, why can’t you get it done right away?
And the Answer is…
You can. You can get it done in 15 minutes or less. But…if you don’t do the work to assess your in-house resources for a disciplined, rigorous maintenance routine or train your staff regarding online etiquette or analyze your customer base to see if they even want (or will use) the dang social media strategy – then, it’s a complete and total WASTE OF TIME.
The Gobbledy-Gook Factor
I know I’m being harsh here, but seriously, you can’t just throw something up and expect it to perform. Think about your corporate brochure, if you just put gobbledy-gook for the content would someone actually call you and hire you? What if you designed a gorgeous tradeshow booth but went to a tradeshow where none of the attendees were interested or had the budget to purchase your product/services? Would that be the best use of your company’s marketing budget and monetary resources? Would it produce the requisite ROI demanded by your CFO? Nope, it would be a complete and total WASTE OF TIME.
What Should You Do?
Well, first of all, pat yourself on the back that your entrepreneurial and cutting edge enough to consider a social media strategy. Way to go, you are a frontrunner and innovator. Seriously, that’s awesome. So, now let’s roll up our sleeves and figure out if social media makes sense for you.
How Do You Know if You’re On the Right Path?
Well, cricket… One: Do you have anything interesting to talk about? Product updates, new technology, new service offerings, demonstrating expertise in an area, resources your competitors don’t have, etc. As in, what makes your organization so darn special? We’re talking Point of Differentiation here. Two: What problem are you trying to solve? Increase customers, increase sales, increase average sale, increase sales from existing customers, establish presence as industry leader, reposition brand, demonstrate expertise, share unique resources, etc. As in, what is your metric for measuring success? It’s all about ROI, baby. Three: Who cares? Your C-suite, your marketing department, your outsourced vendors, your distribution channel, your customers, etc. As in, if you write it will they come? Everyone has to be fully vested or it won’t work, really it can’t be a one man or one woman initiative. (Funny side note: I had a vendor give me a quote for “man hours.” I thanked him and asked him what would the project cost if it was “woman hours?” He said: Oh, a lot more. That was the right response!)
If You Answered Yes, Then Social Media is for You!
Sensei says: Congratulations!! Now, you’re ready to start thinking about People, Objective, Strategy, Technology (POST per the Forrester folks who came up with this great methodology) and your Process, Implementation, Discipline and Measurement (PIDM per me, I made it up but when you think about it really makes sense to ensure successful implementation).
Th-th-that’s All Folks!
Well, that’s all for today. In my next post, we’ll talk about what you need to do next in your never-ending quest for Social Media enlightenment to ensure your efforts are not a complete and total WASTE OF TIME. Be sure to sign up for our RSS feed (top right orange button thingy on our blog), so you can get notified when we post next and stay update with the latest industry content. Good night and good luck.