Social Marketing on the Cheap … Probably Not Prudent
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a strategist. I like to think about things, come up with a plan, work within my clients’ budgets and create marketing strategies that not only make sense, but which will … um, well … actually work for them. Go figure. Ready, aim, fire. Don’t spend money, time, effort or energy until it makes sense as part of an integrated marketing plan. Totally makes sense, doesn’t it? You’d be amazed at how many people forge ahead without a plan, looking for the least expensive “solution,” without any first-hand knowledge about what they’re attempting to undertake and without any understanding at how much potential damage they could do to their brand and brand image as a result of poor execution.
Well, after sitting in one too many meetings, listening to small business owners talk about social media – trying to get their heads around email marketing, mobile marketing and, heaven forbid, something like Facebook or Twitter, it’s my head that’s beginning to spin. And these same business owners just don’t seem to get it. Their eyes glaze over and they shake their heads and say “I know I need to do an e-newsletter, or write a blog, or investigate Facebook, but I just don’t have time. But I have a website!” Well I say “Woo Hoo for you!” Having a website does not mean that you’re on top of your game when it comes to promoting your business. In fact, having a website without doing anything to advertise, promote or draw traffic to it is about as useless as having a billboard in the middle of a corn field. Social media, email marketing, mobile marketing …. all of those things are tools that marketers use to promote brands, products and actually drive sales. Imagine that – doing something that would actually sell your product.
Well, in tough economic times, the gloves come off and it’s time to talk tough love. Don’t cry hard times because your sales are down. Of course they’re down. And the time to do something about it, to allocate some marketing dollars and some savvy tactics and stop the bleeding is now.
Social marketing is and should be a part of any serious business’s marketing and communications plan – especially today. But, the interesting thing is, that so often people (read that “business owners”) think that it’s just the perfect project to sink little Jenni on – you know, the one who just graduated from Community College last year and who just loooooves surfing the ‘net. Or, maybe Johnnie, who’s in college and has a Facebook page – that’d be something he could do for us and we could pay him $200 and save a bunch of money.
People – you don’t get it!
Social marketing is serious stuff and is well on it’s way to replacing the traditional kinds of media that we’ve known and loved. Display ads are going the way of the dinosaur. Who reads magazines and newspapers when you can get instant news and any kind of content you would ever want online – through more sources than I can possibly articulate.
Traditional media, while still an important part of brand management and strategy, is no longer the only game in town.
People are online. They are talking, sharing, opining, recommending, blasting, learning, blogging, ReTweeting and moving at the speed of sound.
The question isn’t “should I embrace this social media stuff and use it as part of my marketing strategy” … the question should be “how quickly can I find the right people to help me integrate this so that I can start taking advantage of the brand awareness – (and sales) that I can generate as a result.”
And the answer is that they are out there. People like my friends, Justin French at Social Networking San Diego (all things social media) www.socialnetworkingsandiego.com and Jason Werner at Opus Media (all things email marketing) www.opusbywire.com are knee deep in what’s going in their respective worlds. And there are a myriad of others – those guys just happen to be great friends of mine, and people that I would trust with my own brand.
Bottom line – DO get involved in social media. DON’T try to do it yourself (especially if you don’t know what you’re doing – and most people don’t). DO hire someone to help you not only do it correctly so that it produces real results, but make sure that it’s integrated with and compliments the other elements of your marketing efforts. And, most importantly, DO it now! And, if you don’t have the resources or know where to look ask me – I’ll be glad to help and/or refer you.
Shelly DeMotte Kramer is a marketing strategist specializing in planning, branding, product launches, creating buzz and awareness through non-traditional methods and is, clearly, a social media enthusiast. [email protected]