Social media: Misunderstood and misused by many businesses






A friend, who is involved with social media content marketing as a consultant, said he was backing away from mentioning social media early in the conversation with marketing clients. He found that unless he knew the details of a prospect’s marketing plan, then it would be relatively useless to recommend the use of social media.

For many, social media marketing is putting up a Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest page, etc with the belief that the viral magic will begin. Social media consultants ask about their customer’s marketing plan, only to hear, “Thanks, but we want you to put up a Facebook page about this product for us.” “Why do you need to know our marketing plan?” “We already have a plan. We just need that Facebook page.” So, the consultant dutifully creates a bang-up Facebook page for this special product. And it ends there. What also ends is the client’s interest in social media as a marketing tool. Why? Because just putting up a Facebook page without integrating it into the planning phase of a marketing campaign will not show results. A Facebook page may not even be the best channel to use.

I do not intend to be repetitive. However, this is just too important. Some clients believe that because their target market demographic uses a certain social media site that this target market will see their Facebook page, or clever tweets, photos, etc. Like a billboard on a highway, right? Wrong! Social media must be integrated with the marketing plan.

One example of social media integration with legacy media, that one might recognize, is a TV show or commercial that has a Twitter hashtag. ABC’s Dancing With The Stars has their hashtag in the lower part of the TV viewing screen. Dr. Pepper, and others have had success with Twitter hashtags in TV commercials. Another would be newspaper advertisers using QR Codes to engage their target market by taking them to their eCommerce site, Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest and on and on… Notice that none of these advertisers created a social media page or presence so that their target market might somehow find it. They use their other legacy media content and integrate it with social media. I have seen many businesses displaying QR Codes on flyers and even posting them on their business windows with “‘Like’ us on Facebook,” underneath them and/or another QR Code with “Check in with Foursquare.” But what will the QR Code user see when he or she land on that page using their smart phone? Will there be content worth “liking?” Or is the product Web site even mobile-friendly? Granted, Foursquare is a game, but even Foursquare needs some content. Even contests have to have some description before directing prospects from Facebook, Twitter, etc. to the contest registration page.

Content is king

After deciding to integrate social media with legacy advertising, what’s next? Content. A Facebook page that does not have frequently updated content and/or links to that updated content will not be frequently visited, and first time visitors who see dated information will probably leave and not return. Content must be planned over the course of the campaign (or indefinitely for a company Facebook page) and placed on your Web site or blog. Jingles and advertising speak are despised by most social media users. The business should use its current Facebook, Twitter, or other social media channels to link to the content on a Web site or blog.

Much has been written about social media use and content. Innumerable books, articles and blog posts have been written about using social media for marketing. Most marketers do not have time to read them, but their social media marketing consultant/manager/specialist should and does. So, please use social media wisely. Work with a consultant or a social media specialist who wants to know your marketing plan(s).

About Paul Hem

Innovator, team-player, who leads by example and loves to win.
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