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Why Your Clients Don't Understand Social Media

Have you ever wondered why so many of your clients don’t ‘get’ social media?

It’s all to easy to understand why many ‘traditional’ or, dare I say it … old fashioned businesses don’t grasp the whole concept of social media. It’s because they fire up the only business computer they have and search for the words ‘Social Media Marketing’ and suddenly 1,290,000,000 results appear. As we are all aware the top searches and first 9000 pages of Google for this query will be full of wordy definitions and marketing companies providing news, topics, articles, services & consultancy packages. Is it any wonder that Mr. Jones, owner and proprietor of the small home crafts shop doesn’t have the first clue about what social media does?

old man at computer

As he opens up Wikipedia to find the description:  “Social Media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks’ or “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content”  Whoa!  I think we can safely say that this would leave many people scratching their heads in confusion!

Now here’s the thing …

Mr Jones has been in business for 40 years and has been rather successful without the need for technology for most of those years, but now sends text messages and uses email every day. However, he has just signed up to Facebook to keep in touch with family on the other side of the country and has seen that it might be useful for his business and this is where the social media confusion starts.

So, to my fellow social media managers and marketers, here’s where, at some point we are probably all guilty of the same crime.

We just talk social media jargon!

As we start explaining what social media is, and what it can do, the client starts to become totally bewildered whilst our tedious industry language set piece begins to spiral into hyperbole. Before we know it, we start describing the benefits of a ‘demographically targeted content marketing strategy’ and ‘optimising SEO and keywords in your blog’ along with words such as hashtags, pinning, re-tweeting, link building, analytics, etc, etc.


Take a step back and put yourself into the shoes of your client. They have a business or product that needs marketing, but do you have a feel for your client’s knowledge and perspective of this digital age? They simply want to know that social media can build their business and make money! Trying to put social media into an easy to understand box is nearly impossible and as marketers we will continue to come across clients that really don’t have a clue what it stands for. In these cases, please do keep it simple and let’s all cut back on the vague, confusing industry buzzwords, jargon & hyperbole.


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