Research shows that social networks continue to grow by leaps and bounds. What was once nothing more than an online hangout for teens has become the online hot-spot for everyone and their grandma (literally, my grandma is on Facebook). With billions of active users per month, social media is over-brimming with marketing possibilities and is encouraging everyone to bite the bullet and hire “social media experts” to help them create a social media presence.
While social networks certainly play a very significant role in a successful digital strategy, social media marketing is far from the whole picture; rather a spoke in the online marketing wheel. By itself, social media is about as useful at generating qualified leads as a heaping pile of dog crap. Keep reading to discover how the term “social media expert” continues to scam unsuspecting businesses, and discover tactics that you can use to make your marketing campaigns a success using the Inbound Marketing Methodology.
Shit and Social Media Experts
Since social media became an obvious advertising outlet, marketing practitioners have stepped forward to provide “social media” services. Rather than charging a regular rate, “social media experts” often ask twice as much for their assistance. While these experts may assure you that social media is your only chance at a successful digital marketing campaign, this is far from the truth. Regardless of who is hired to market your business on social networks, even the best-run campaigns will flop if not part of an overarching Inbound Strategy. By themselves social networks are pointless; combined with other marketing techniques, however, they become a vital, must-have part of any advertising & customer service program.
Social Media Needs Support
Social media to function by itself. Potential customers are not going to flock to your Facebook profile if it’s standing alone providing zero value to your customers; instead, social media needs support from other Inbound tactics such as blog posts, surveys, landing pages, etc. Rather than put your social marketing program in a category by itself, look for ways that it can partner with other online and offline outreaches to best attract traffic with a consistent message.
Seeing a Social Network as a Piece of the Puzzle
Rather than viewing social networks as an inexpensive end of the road, businesses have to realize that it is a small part of a huge picture. If getting lots of followers on Twitter is your main goal, then, once done, you may find that success doesn’t actually do much to gain you customers or earn revenue. Every aspect of your marketing campaign should be directed toward one central goal.
Just Another Tool
While social media may be the current marketing craze, it has also become just another communication tool. Although any solid marketing plan will include a strong social networking presence, no smart business will base their entire marketing strategy around it. An organization that focuses only on social is as lopsided as a business that hires a team of service desk employees to wait for inbound phone calls. To secure a consistent flow of traffic, leads, and customers, it’s important to build a strategy that relies on multiple marketing vehicles.
Combining the Digital and Physical Worlds
Rather than viewing your digital strategy and physical business as two separate entities, the two should blend together. Use traditional marketing techniques such as radio, television, and newspaper advertisements to draw attention to your social profiles, which in turn direct those users to actionable pages on your business website. Be sure to ask customers to visit your website, become fans of your Facebook page, and follow your business on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/Etc. Importantly, remember your social profiles are all about utility. When your organization provides your friendsters with interesting & useful information, they are more likely to share it with their friends, driving more online followers and, ultimately, new customers to your business.
Hire A Social Media Manager!
When looking for someone to manage the social aspect of your Inbound strategy, it’s important to have someone who has real-world experience. Kids and young people use the social media to communicate rather than to “market”, which makes them (generally) more likely to understand how to best use the tools and reach a target audience with your message. Consider hiring someone who is a young “online marketing professional”, understands complex techniques such as PPC and SEO, and truly uses the social media in day-to-day life. Make sure that your social media manager is able to articulate the benefits of the “Inbound Marketing Methodology”, and is able to incorporate many different marketing tactics together to promote your business, and monitor and track the entire process for success. (Not Inbound Certified? Take the course, it’s free)
Our age of technology offers many opportunities for businesses to promote their services and products. Let us not get so caught up in one form of marketing that we forget the whole picture.
Image source: Flickr – Creative Commons