[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”http://ow.ly/1QQKt” only_single=false]It’s very exciting to be involved with social media at the moment. Everyone is talking about it and marketeers are actually beginning to see the benefit. But remember, it’s only effective as part of a properly thought out marketing strategy.
- You’ve still got to have a product.
Whether that be your services, your advice or your gadget, if you’re going crazy on Facebook/Twitter/Insert-Other without a product then all you’re doing is peddling hot air (your feet will burn but you’ll get nowhere).
- You’ve still got to have an audience.
You have to stop and think about who needs to hear what you’ve got to say. Who would you like to interact with to promote your product or improve your services. If you can’t define that audience then you’ll end up trying to convince school age Bebo kids that they need some of your SMO juice and they won’t be having it.
- You’ve still got to have goals.
Without goals you’re aimless and there’s nothing you can measure progress against. How can you tell that your strategy is working if you don’t set goals? You can set up as many Facebook fan sites as you like but if you’re happy with trying to get as many fans as you can when, in reality, you’re real goal is to sell more of your services, then you are failing.
Social marketing has it’s place. In some cases it’s your key brand channel. That’s certainly true of people who are trying to convince you of how useful social media can be to your organisation. But in most cases it’s simply an open channel. One where your customers can get your ear. One where you can build a bit of trust so that they are receptive to your ultimate goal which is to give up some cash so you can pay your bills.
Hell. In some cases it’s of no use at all. Don’t try a YouTube campaign targeting public sector employees for instance because 90% aren’t going to be able to access it due to over-zealous security restrictions.
So, in short. Think about your product, audience and goals first. Then, start to look at how you might achieve them. If one of those methods looks like it might be a bit of social media, then yay. Otherwise, stick with your poster campaign and branded mugs.