The introduction of social media has birthed tens of thousands of overnight self proclaimed marketing experts. While some are using good practices to help the businesses they work in or work for achieve results, some have unfortunately fallen to lazy, spamming tactics.
I have great concern for this movement to lazy marketing. The social networks such as Facebook certainly aren't doing much to stop it. In reality they are arming the lazy marketer.
When was the last time you...
- Thought more than 5 minutes about an ad for publication on Facebook?
- Asked your customers what they want and need?
- Aligned your social media efforts to business goals where social can have a positive impact?
- Stopped the Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) and got serious about business results?
- Developed a brand architecture inclusive of more than your logo or colors?
- Developed and used a content marketing editorial calendar?
- Dug deep into your website, social network or other data to learn about your customer?
- Analyzed your top 10 visited website or blog pages?
- Analyzed your top 10 exit pages on your website or blog?
- Thought more about value to your existing Facebook community vs obtaining more Facebook likes?
- Focused on what happens AFTER the Facebook like vs getting more likes?
- Asked the most important question in social media... WHY?
- Thought twice before sending that spam message to your new contact on LinkedIn?
- Collaborated with marketing and/or business partners for an event or promotion?
- Wrote a blog post that focused 100% on the needs of your audience and not SEO keyword stuffing?
- Wrote a blog post from the heart because you wanted to?
- Told a client you couldn't do what they asked you to do because you knew it would not drive result?
- Told your management you could not do a new Facebook promotion until you finished measuring the business results of the previous campaign.
- Told your management you needed more resources to execute social media and delivered them a plan to justify the investment that aligned to business goals?
For the true and experienced marketers, we do these things and more every day. We were not born via Facebook or Twitter. We have been in the business and marketing trenches for years or even decades.
We aren't afraid and refuse to stop using words like value, relevancy, content, content marketing, integration, goals, strategy, and even "rock star." These were not buzzwords born via Facebook. They are words that have been blasted on blog posts by marketing wanna be leaders trying to get attention and more blog traffic. Just because they over use them doesn't mean we should void them from our vocabularly.
My biggest concern is that by pushing these social buzz words out of our vocabulary, the work is also being pushed out of our agendas. Too many business leaders think they can hop on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and in a few weeks they can be social media famous, show up on a few lists and their business will be rockin'.
This could not be further from the truth. Social media is simply a medium that enables you to connect with your audience, partners, clients and members of the larger ecosystem. It is not a replacement to good marketing. It's not a replacement to planning, setting goals and getting in the heads of your customer.
Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you should.
Facebook has announced a few major changes that empower the lazy marketer. Not only did they announce the integration of free stock images for Facebook advertisers from Shutterstock, but they also deleted the requirement to use a 3rd party app when executing Facebook promotions and contests.
It's not like brand marketers weren't already running contests on their pages without the 3rd party apps. Yes, we know many were. However, now Facebook is not going to stop them.
Facebook has changed their terms and conditions and eliminated the requirement. We can understand where Facebook is coming from. It is the responsibility of the brand to execute a contest or promotion in accordance with their local legal requirements.
Why Are the Recent Facebook Changes Concerning?
While I can understand why Facebook implemented such changes, it is also concerning. Here is why...
1. Brand marketers should be thinking about what image their Facebook advertisement is going to use far before entering it into Facebook and randomly selecting one of the thousands offered by Shutterstock. What happened to developing a brand architecture and knowing who and what you are prior to marketing yourself anywhere? Smart marketers will not fall for these lazy tricks.
2. Brand marketers that do not plan properly, acknowledge and adhere to local business laws and regulations increase business risk.
3. Brands that take the easy way out with social media and marketing often surrender to Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs). RAMs will eat every last morsel of ROI and business result. They love when you don't plan, don't set goals and don't integrate. Here are 15 Reasons Why Random Acts Of Marketing are Not Good For Your Business.
4. We work with many new clients who have fallen to these lazy tactics. They usually come begging to help them increase their ROI. When we conduct the social media audit we usually find a focus on short term, self-centered metrics vs any real business goals. We see the negative impact daily that these tactics drive. It's not pretty.
5. Spam will increase. Because it is easier to execute ads, promotions and contests, the lazy, spammer marketers are going to show up in full force.
6. Increased spam is going to add more noise. It will become more challenging for good brand and social marketers to rise above the clutter.
7. There is risk people will tune out even more. This means our target audiences are going to get smart very quickly to these games. They will likely increase the filtering, use of lists and more features on Facebook to filter what they want to see when they want to see it.
8. There is much risk for the brand marketers and small businesses who don't know better. I know ignorance is not an excuse. However, when Facebook introduces these changes, it makes the naive marketer think it's okay to use such features.
How do you rise above the lazy crowd?
This is the easy part and the good news for those who want to do it right. Marketers wanting to do smart marketing can truly be the sweet orange in a world of bitter apples.
Because so many brand marketers are falling to these lazy tactics, it doesn't take much for you to rise above. The best thing you can do if you do not want to be part of the lazy, spamming, noisy world is to focus on the journey, not the short term sprint. To do this you must train hard, work hard, and focus on your WHY. You must enjoy the journey.
It's time for some to go back to marketing 101 basics. Get in the head of your audience. Set goals for your business. Build your brand architecture and develop a "create once, use many" message house and brand platform.
Answer the most important question in social media for everything you do... WHY!? Why are you doing what you do? WHY will it add value to your audience needs? How will you help your audience solve their problems? How will you help make their life and business better, more efficient?
Don't follow the school of lazy marketers. Know where you want to go, why you want to go there, how you are going to get there and make it happen.
Following the crowd of lazy Facebook marketers is unlikely to get you where you need to go. Cheaters and spammers may win the sprint but they will never beat you in the marathon.