Dr. Brian Monger decided to “stir the pot” on a LinkedIn group for Marketing Executives. He suggested that a business does not need a social media platform presence if you don’t have the time or knowledge on how to run it. This was a throw-down and I couldn’t ignore it. Dr. Monger’s suggestion, (and I’m pretty sure he was simply playing the devil’s advocate) was that social media marketing professionals are in the game to make a buck, and provide no real value to a brand.
But what if I am wrong about this being a tease? Could marketing executives be so completely out of touch with the changes in consumer behavior that they are in denial about the importance of social media in business marketing? People don’t like change, especially when it comes to how they make their living. Anyone who has been in marketing for 30 years remembers the glory days when agencies could charge exorbitant rates for creative and media placement, with no direct proof that the money was well-spent. Today it’s a very different game. Marketers are held accountable for every decision, and every dollar spent.
Diminishing the value of social media only means (to me) that other forms of marketing are over-hyped and over-valued, which is no different from what Dr. Monger suggests advocates of social media marketing are doing. Who’s right? You decide. Here’s my response to Dr. Monger’s claim:
Social media almost always becomes effective only after you plan and implement a strategy that is designed to deliver results–more awareness, more leads or more conversions.
I have researched thousands of small businesses and it is apparent that most (85% or more) do not have an effective strategy. Around 8% or 9% are using an agency or marketing professional to run their social media, and it is more effective. Then there are around 4% or 5% of business owners/managers/workers who just have a knack for social media and succeed on that basis.
Because so few are really going about it the right way, the apparent results give those on the sidelines plenty of proof that social media is a waste of time and effort. The bottom line is that brands who successfully implement social media marketing lower their cost of lead acquisition. It works for big brands, it works for small, local businesses.
More and more, consumers like me are replacing traditional media with online media. If you don’t have an online presence, your only other good chance to reach me is through billboards. And with some 644 million websites out there, a typical website is less than a needle in a haystack. Participating in social media enlarges your footprint on the web AND indicates to the search engines that your website is more important, increasing your chances of being discovered.
I could rant ad infinitum about the failed attempts at social media marketing I have encountered. I’d rather suggest that you look at your business and what it takes to get more of it, then ask how social media could improve upon what you are doing today. And if you can’t answer that last question for yourself, get input from a qualified social media consultant who understands your business.
As you can see my answer is succinct, to suit the format of a LinkedIn discussion group. A longer response would have tried the patience of more than 41,000 marketing executives. In taking the shorter road, I did leave myself open to criticism, but that is okay, I can handle it.
If you don’t agree with my perspective, I challenge you to suggest to me a business that cannot benefit from an effective social media strategy. I will respond with my solution. Let’s see if you can stump the strategist. 🙂
Thank you, Dr. Monger, for inspiring me to express my view on why social media is one of the most important and valuable marketing opportunities available today for any type of business.