How many times have you heard it said that social media can help your company? All you have to do is learn a few simple tricks about tweeting and likes and soon enough you'll be living large. Better yet, just pay Mr. or Ms. Confidence a small fortune to do it for you. After all, they know how to do it best and they can grow your Facebook page daily. You're in business to get likes and not grow profits right?
Aha! Many a marketing cynic will be quick to the draw when it comes to social media. It's a waste of time, waste of money or too much of a hassle to stay on top of the latest trends they say. Whether that cynicism is a result of bad past experiences or ignorance, it can be difficult to overcome. Breaking the status quo is an uphill battle, which is why marketers and customers alike have to understand where social media fits into marketing, and how marketing fits into the business itself.
Social media is a tool for engagement, amplification and community. At the end of the day, smart business owners want to grow their customers, make them happier, and keep them coming back for more. What good is a Twitter contest that's unrelated to the brand where there's no communication or follow-up to filter the entrants to prospects? How can a social media manager be successful without any input on the company brand? If there's no creative element tied to social, then you probably don't need a social media manager. People are starting to get the hint that there's social media child's play and then there's meat and potatoes marketing.
It's impossible to know how effective or ineffective social media efforts are without tying it to the customer's satisfaction, growth and their lifetime value. Anyone can tweet daily or buy attention, but it takes some advanced know-how to build a customer base. I'd take 10 excited brand evangelists over 1,000 likes any day. It's the people that make social successful and statistics can be easily manipulated. Through real engagement and meaningful conversation, those evangelists grow over time and spread the word. I doubt John Doe is telling his friends to eat at your pizzeria because you once offered a Groupon.
Social media is rather simple, but it's not easy. If you're looking to succeed, start off with higher-level marketing conversations to weed out the pretenders. Talk about how to build awareness, brand value, and guiding customers through the proverbial funnel towards purchasing. Otherwise you just may end up burning money and heading in the wrong direction.
Have you ever been burned by a "social media guru?" Tell your story below...