Friday, 18 May 2012

Wasting Time on Social (Media) Problems


Isn’t Social Media just a big waste of time? It’s a question that I seem to hear quite frequently these days. The fact that this question is often asked at a seminar I run on Email and Social Media Marketing for iContact, suggests to me that the people either hope it’s not true or they are trying to “out” me as a snakeskin oil seller.
But here’s the truth and you might not like it: Social Media can be a huge waste of time.
The problem is that many people believe Social Media to be a marketing silver bullet, driving engagement and sales with little need for investment in terms of cash, content or strategy. They are sadly misguided.
It happens every time a new technology comes along. People think it’s going to do all the work for them. They set up their stalls on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, post a few random comments and blatantly plug the odd product or service and then walk away, scratching their heads wondering why their bottom line hasn’t moved.
Remember this, just because you have a Social Media presence does not mean you have a Social Media strategy. Without this strategy you’re just hanging out online, or to put it another way, wasting your time.
6 Solid Investments You Need To Make in Social Media
  1. Content: Most Social Media technologies are built around short, concise message systems. But this doesn’t mean you should stop investing in detailed content. Blog posts, white papers, press releases, videos, podcasts and webinars are all superb methods of building your company’s profile and can help position you as a thought leader in your particular area of expertise. Social Media will help you distribute this content widely and potentially (depending on the quality of the content) help your message to go viral.
  2. Cross Channel Pollination: Social Media provides a great environment to engage with your target audience, distribute content and help position your business in the commercial landscape. However, it does not provide a great platform to sell from. To do this you’ll need to employ more traditional marketing techniques. Use Social Media to drive your Email Marketing subscriptions, enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns, inform your Content Marketing strategies and socialize your PR activity.
  3. Engagement: Take time to talk with your Social Media followers, thank them for their support, endorse their opinion, make them part of your community. The days of conducting business in an ivory tower are long gone. Social Media can help humanize your business – but only if you show people you are actually human.
  4. Monitoring: What are people saying about you, your brand, your products, your services, your prices, your competitors? It’s all out there for the world to see across multiple social networks. Look for opportunities and extinguish small customer service fires before they blaze out of control.
  5. Time: Time is money and you’ve got to know that your investment in time is paying off. iContact’s Social Media tools help you manage your time spend on Social Media more effectively and analyze your impact alongside your Email Marketing campaigns.
  6. Fun: Let’s not forget to have some fun. This is social media, not party politics. Remember people buy from people they like – so be likeable.

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