17 thoughts on “Death of the Social Media Strategist: Overselling & Underperforming from the Start

  1. Ultimately, it comes down to knowing your audience. Know who you want to reach and figure out where they are ‘buying’ your product/service. Get your message there. Great summary here!

  2. I get a lot of phone calls from companies wanting help with their social media strategy. A 20 minute conversation generally reveals that want they’re really asking for his help with marketing strategy and leaping into social without focus on the “basics” just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  3. Great story! And we all get it. But do the companies we work for? In other words, will they understand social media are just one means in a whole host of them and let us combine them? Or, realize that social media (if you do not advertise) are for branding and communicating, not sales, and adjust their expectations.

    1. We are definitely in a learning phase for businesses. Both as an employee (for Dell) and as a consultant we are in the business of educating business executives on what they can expect from social programs.

  4. The basic message is, the emperor has clothes and it takes a whole crew of valets to dress him. That’s how he gets to look so good.

    If you just want to go out in your scivvies and tie, you won’t get the right reaction from the public. 😉

  5. While I agree in many cases, I found this analysis somewhat lacking.

    My primary concerns is the lack of focus. Is this about small businesses, start-ups, or big brands? Having worked extensively in the “big brand” and now the “start up” space, the spending behaviors and expected returns are very different.

    Big consumer brands want to connect with customers better and more often. Yes, in this regard social helps sales. They are MANY CPG case studies on this one. There is ROI in the same sense that TV generates ROI (attribution modeling), but not the raw attribution we see in online banners. Not all returns are direct sales.

    Big B2B brands should be using social very differently. This is a wide open space where social has incredible but very different value. In B2B it’s more about providing relationship capital, and depending on the size of the target market, fostering the right dialog. This is even harder to prove, and while this has been demonstrated in case studies I do not believe we have cracked the B2B space.

    Startups on the other hand, are generally looking for PR and new users. The measure of ROI here is likely the size of the community and the discussion generated. In this case, many startups are using social highly effectively with strong returns.

    In many cases, the information presented is accurate. But this is far too broad a brush for far to detailed an analysis.

    1. The point I am making is the same across all size of businesses. Social does not stand alone. WIthout the mechanics of the rest of the site and marketing work, social will have a limited effect. As for your numbers, I’m looking at the information in the report as my baseline. Yes, large B2B brands have a very different focus in what they are trying to accomplish with social media. But “branding” won’t directly contribute to your ROI which is usually what businesses base the performance of any campaign on. No ROI no additional or ongoing budget.

  6. I think there’s a baseline understanding for the core items, email marketing, online ads, seo, etc. – but client’s are going through an educational process. Shit, even I don’t know what the hell the baseline process is for great Social Media. Too many variables, articles and moving targets. Taking something like email marketing. Easy to understand, easy to sell, easy to consult on. I can understand my ROI on that easily…

  7. Thanks again for putting out there, loudly, the voice of reason.

    I’ll take Robert’s point in the comments (“A 20 minute conversation generally reveals that want they’re really asking for his help with marketing strategy and leaping into social without focus on the “basics” just doesn’t make a lot of sense.”) further: What many small businesses need is traditional marketing strategy, as in help with their Product, Price, Place, and Promotion, not just Promotion, which is what most of them have in mind when they call.

    We get referrals “for websites”, “social media marketing”, “SEO”, etc. and the conversation always ends up (and of course, at this point, we lead into) the need for a systematic approach to online marketing, in the context fo the business’ overall marketing. You know, the whole “marketing mix” thing. The education process can be exhausting, so much more because of all of the mis-information scattered around by ninjas…

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