Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Social Media Strategy

FixCourse
Brad Smith Partner, Codeless Interactive, LLC

Posted on June 13th 2012

Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Social Media Strategy

Contrary to popular belief, social media isn't free.

It doesn't cost much to get started, but it takes hours of labor and focused effort before you begin seeing any results.

And that's if you're doing it right.

If you fall victim to one of these 3 threats, then you may not see any positive results at all.

Social media cartoon comic - Buying Twitter Followers Image courtesy of seanrnicholson

 

1. The HIPPO Syndrome

There's an old joke that says a camel is a horse designed by committee.

And in most large organizations, this is the main reason behind average, boring products and services.

Someone needs to make the tough decisions and be willing to draw a line in the sand. But here's the catch.

You need to avoid the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person's Opinion) syndrome at all costs. Especially when it comes to social media.

In many organizations, the highest paid person in your organization has no clue about digital marketing. And when that person is dictating strategies and tactics, you're going to run into trouble.

So what's the solution?

Management guru Edward Deming once said, "In God we trust. Everyone else must bring data". So if you want to prove your point of view, then you need to use data to paint a picture and tell your story.

Because if you can show how your ideas are improving the organization with cold-hard data, then no one can disagree with you.

It's impossible to show the true ROI from social media. But you can show how much traffic is coming from Facebook on a monthly basis, and how those users stay on your site longer than visitors from other channels like organic search.

You can also use tracking cookies or special coupon codes to track conversions coming through each social media channel. Toy company Step2 uses social media for business and reported a 300% increase in revenues from visitors who come through the Facebook Connect button.

No one can argue with results like that.

 

2. No Money & No Time

One of the most common objections people have about social media is that they have no time and no money to invest.

Maybe you've even felt this way yourself. I completely understand. It's easy to get overwhelmed when things are constantly changing, and it always seems like there's more to do.

But you just need to stop, take a breath, and look at it objectively.

The internet and social media has fundamentally changed the way people buy your products and services. It presents a huge opportunity for those willing to start early and stake their claim. And it enables you to compete with any company, anywhere, at any time. So you can't afford not to get involved.

And if you really think about it, you can't be short on both time and money.

If you're short on time, then you should use money to hire a blog writer to help you create exceptional content that will get you traffic, links and subscribers.

Or you can strip down your expectations to the essential. For example, don't worry about using Pinterest. Instead focus all of your time, energy and effort on the one social network where your audience is most active.

If you're short on money, then you should focus all your effort on tactics which will get you traffic that will turn into loyal customers. Specifically, you should:

  • Create content that attracts prospects
  • Partner with other brands to get in front of their communities
  • Learn how to use SEO to get consistent, high-quality traffic

Then once you start getting some traffic, you can learn about conversion rate optimization and increase the amount of people joining your mailing list, buying your products or contacting you about your services.

 

3. The Strengths & Weaknesses of Social Media

Social media can't save your brand.

In today's world, your product and service is your marketing.

Red Bull doesn't have 28 million Facebook "Likes" because of some clever marketing gimmicks. They're also the best, most well known product in their category.

But they do understand how to use social media very well.

Look at their content marketing. They don't focus on their company or product. They focus on who their audience is. They highlight the lifestyle of their audience with exciting images and extreme sports. And take a look at the comments and interaction on their Facebook wall. You'll see positive, engaged people consistently interacting with their brand.

They have a clear understanding of the definition of social media.

Great. Now what does all this mean?

It's impossible to pinpoint the ROI of social media because it doesn't convert directly. Instead, it helps by gaining people's awareness, building trust and getting them to stick around longer.

In business terms, that means social media helps:

  • Improve your overall online conversion rates by increasing trust
  • Give you a higher marketing ROI compared to traditional channels
  • And increase the lifetime value of a customer because people will buy more frequently when they stay engaged longer

If you expect direct conversions from social media, then you're going to be disappointed. Just like if you spread yourself too thin, don't invest enough time, or take bad advice from the highest paid people in your organization.

If you don't have a good initial experience, then you'll quit or under-invest in the future.

And you'll miss out on a tremendous opportunity for your organization in the long run.

FixCourse

Brad Smith

Partner, Codeless Interactive, LLC

Brad Smith is a Partner at Codeless Interactive, LLC, which specializes in custom web development and customer acquisition services.

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Comments

DavinaKBrewer
Posted on June 12th 2012 at 5:39PM

You said it twice so I have to take issue with the ROI. It is quite possible to score, track, measure social media and its returns; it's just not cut-and-dry simple as some would like, not as linear or direct; it'll take time, money and knowhow to do it right, show accurate results beyond basic vanity metrics. Ditto anything else; that SuperBowl ad may have gotten buzz, but you still have to prove it brought people who actually parted w/ their money, yes? /end mini rant ;-)

As to the rest, I mostly agree. While I do know some C-suite types who are big into tech and social, some don't 'get' in the way they [think] they understand other types of communications. Big word on social - or any other program - not saving your business; it's your business that'll save it, your good products, services and business model. The 'time/money' argument is another one we hear all the time.. and that graphic is a perfect illustration. If brands would look at where they're wasting time/money on programs no longer working, they'd see that they actually do have the resources. Esp. when you consider how social organically integrates to the rest of the mix. FWIW.

 

FixCourse
Posted on June 12th 2012 at 6:02PM

Hi Davina, thanks for your comment. 

I definately agree with you about the ROI.  That's just the typical objection to social media use, so I wanted to get across that even if you don't know how / can't do it, that there's other ways you can show how it benefits.

Great follow up points too - I agree completely with those as well. Thanks again.

nadigbenlaw
Posted on June 12th 2012 at 9:13PM

Another cost of social media that people do not think of is the costs of creating giveaways which is one of the number 1 ways of generating new likes and improving profile engagement.  Whatever it is that you are giving away: T-shirts, sweatshirts, cash prizes, all of these items will cost the marketing department some money.  However it is one of the more successful ways to create engagement by users and it is also one of the cheaper making it one of the best social media tactics.   

 

 

 

 

Collin123
Posted on June 14th 2012 at 7:14AM

Brad this is an absolutely brilliant article. Your first point especially holds true. It happens in many organizations that the top honchos make the decision which may not be necessarily correct but if you can show data, no one can argue it.

Any change made should be based on data, I feel.

 

Marc LeVine
Posted on June 14th 2012 at 7:37PM

I also think that making things a bit harder are all of the books and articles now available in the public domain, designed to teach marketers how to sell to people, who are strictly online to socialize.

The worldly-wise and well informed "everyman (woman)" has caught wind that after the "value proposition," a sales pitch may follow. They may be more leery about those seemingly being knowledgeable, transparent, authentic and genuine.  The books and newspaper articles out there warns that they may be looking to eventually sell them something. 

If we were to monitor the receptiveness levels (to business-themed messages) by people engaged on social sites, such as Facebook and Twitter from day one to the present; what might the trending line look like? 

I see more and more people "shutting down" as soon as someone shares a post or tweet that is geared to what they do for a living. More so, than when the post is geared to pleasantries, humor or hobbies.  In other words, I don't see them being as impressed and congratulatory as they have once been evidenced by them NOT clicking on industry news or press releases about their friend's recent hire, promotion, award, new business venture or similar. Things that used to elicit "Congratulations!" from friends are increasingly being ignored and passed over in Social Media.  I think - because people do not want to feel obligated to eventually do business with or recommend their friend to others.

Is it just me, do does anyone else see a similar change in people's growing skepticism about the business-related intention of others, online?

Mrspresentation
Posted on June 15th 2012 at 2:05PM

I am new to the world of social media and it does feel a tad overwhelming. There is so much more than just Facebook. It will take me a while to get my head wrapped around it all but I am hoping my social nature will help me.

Kate at Rose McGrory
Posted on June 18th 2012 at 10:33AM

The "no money and / or time" argument, I generally find, comes from people who really mean "I don't understand this and it's out of my comfort zone". Presenting them with a logical answer rarely works - and if they're running the business, it's going to be in trouble soon!

BTW There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying "i've evaluated the benefits, and believe that there are other marketing and / or communications avenues which are a better fit for our objectives" - but how often do you hear THAT?!

socialmarvels
Posted on June 19th 2012 at 6:01PM
Yeah I definitely can't agree with the ROI statement.. "It's impossible to show the true ROI from social media. " A KPI and a social ROI are directly related. You define the ROI based on the KPI you're after. If you're after likes and understand your KPI you can assess your ROI. User interaction is key in social and will ultimately determine the ROI you're after with a content strategy. So it's definitely POSSIBLE to show your ROI when you define the means to get there and can identify what it actually is.
Mrspresentation
Posted on June 19th 2012 at 6:17PM

From my small glimpse into social media thus far, it appears folks spread themselves very thin throughout many different social media avenues.  I'm not certain how people keep up on everything really.  Unless they are just spamming themselves.  Right now my plan is to limit myself a little so that I can really maintain a social connection even in business, if that makes sense.