I said it again today, during a discussion with a new potential client. “You’ve got to have your fundamentals together, and understand your goals and baselines for us to begin putting a social media plan together.”
Yes, everyone can do your social media. Your nephew can set up a Facebook page and occasionally post pictures and funny stories to humanize your business on Facebook. We used to say, “You just need to show up where your customers are.” But that’s all changed.
Today, even the question of “what is social media” get bandied about with some regularity. I was in a heated Facebook discussion about if the Social Agency will even exist in 5 years. This person, a social media smarty pants, asked, “Like PR firms, don’t you think they can do social as just another function?” My response, “Do you think PR firms are ready to handle all of the social media channels too?”
I think the point this person was making, is “Social does not stand alone.”
And often the mechanics of social media are misunderstood. The numbers are very different from traditional marketing or advertising spends. In the old days programs would have predictions that sounded a bit like this, “If we spend $10,000 on banner ads, we will see about $50,000 in new business.” Of course, banner ads are almost invisible in the online world these days. Not that they are not there. And not that the banner companies haven’t been trying to scream their way into your click stream with video, auto-start sound clips, animations, anything anything anything to get you to click or roll-over their banner. BUT… They are not working very well.
Same thing with Facebook ads. Ask anyone you talk to, “Have you ever clicked on a Facebook ad?” You know what best-practices analytics tells us the answer will be? About 0.015% will say yes. Tough work. Oh but, Facebook has the eyeballs. Facebook has the user base, and likely “your customer.” But accessing them, and activating that customer on Facebook is not a simple “Place Ad Here” proposition. In fact, many major advertisers are abandoning the social media channel (the Facebook channel, mainly) in favore of more traditional digital marketing tools. And a recent study showed that most companies spend about 8% of their budgets on stuff labeled “social media.”
And they’re getting very limited results for that 8%.
IF we begin to think of Social Media Fairies we might be closer to the truth about social media marketing. I’m not suggesting that the metrics and roi calculations are not possible with social media, but without solid programs the social in your marking mix might be good at generating activity, but not so good at generating return. Or in CEO terms, revenue.
So the magic dust is social media. And I believe this: social can enhance, grow, and maybe even “viralize” your marketing campaign. And I hope that your team is working as hard as I am to quantify the “value” of that acceleration. But:
- without a good landing page the conversion won’t happen
- without a good call to action the email marketing program won’t generate clicks
- without compelling messages the SEO/PPC programs won’t deliver any more sales
- and with out something to do, some GOAL and ASK in mind, social is just SOCIAL
We’ve been starting to hear a lot of talk about Social Business. Well, welcome to the party, folks. If it’s just social, and does not generate business we just call it “activity.” When you hear the words “branding” or “share of voice” I want you to listen very carefully to what comes next in the sentence. These were early indicators of social media success, but NOT good measurements of effectiveness or MOST IMPORTANTLY the R in ROI of social media.
Let’s get to the business of making social work, yes please. Social Business? Yes please. It’s what some of us practitioners have been crowing about for a long time. It’s not as easy as attaching a tracking code to a link in an online ad and counting up the money at the other end of the sales cycle. Nope, it’s a lot more complex.
And when you’re looking at those fancy reporting charts, or modern-colored dashboards, make sure someone on your team is asking these questions:
- What’s changed?
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- Where can we take ACTION and TEST our changes to see if we can move the performance needle?
- What’s something NEW that we can do that we haven’t tried yet?
- How can we smooth out some of the friction points so that our customer clicks on the BUY NOW button and then completes the transaction? (There are a lot of places that they might drop off.)
With an active and alert social media team the fun lies in the enthusiasm for the rally cry, “Let’s do it all again next week.” If you are not prepared to try, test, try, and test, over and over again, you might need to look at one of the other online marketing roles.
Social Media: It’s not what you’ve done, it’s what you are doing that is interesting.
And then accurately measuring those results. THEN you MULTIPLY the success and DIVIDE the failures. Simple math, but the equations are harder to put together.