Manage Your Marketing: Should you “do” social?

3006348550_3bb10dda55_m (1)Not long ago, we had a client come in for a meeting. It was one of those nice face-to-face catch-up meetings that we love to have with our clients. One of the things the client wanted to talk to us about was social media. They of course have not been oblivious to the fact that a lot of companies are integrating social media into their marketing, but they weren’t sure if their particular business model was a great match for a platform like Facebook or Twitter. They wanted our opinion on whether they should jump into social media or not.

Our answer was no.

Are you surprised? We figured you might be. After all, we’re an agency. Aren’t agencies supposed to tell clients to do as much as possible? That’s how we make our money, right? Moreover, who is NOT using social media these days? It’s like the phone, isn’t it? And besides, lots of well-known people in the world of social media have said that if you are not using social media in your marketing plan, you’re way behind the 8-ball. Miles Austin, known as the “web tools guy,” wrote a post back in 2011 saying that there were a lot of “lame” excuses for not using social media. A full year before that, way back in 2010 (3 years is an eternity in the online world), well-known blogger Steve Olenski wrote a post for Social Media Today deriding companies that were not using social media. Imagine what they would say about companies not using social media now!

Yet we’re here telling you that we actually advised a client of ours to refrain. Are we taking crazy pills or what?

It’s Not As Crazy As You Might Think

Ever since the social media “revolution” started, we have approached our clients with the same approach when they ask whether they should start “doing” social media. We ask what they would hope to achieve. We ask why they are thinking the time is right. We ask who at their company would handle the day-to- responsibilities tied to a social media presence. After discussing all of those factors, if social media still seems like a good idea, our next recommendation is usually, “Let us do some research.” Are their customers there? Is there any online buzz about their type of product? What are key competitors doing?

In the case of the client who visited us, we did not need research to understand that social media would not be a good investment of their money or time right now. They know exactly who their customers are. They are targetingspecific people at specific companies. Social Media simply would not make sense for them right now.

There are probably many companies in the same boat. Why preach to them the value of social media when it simply would not be a good fit? We don’t feel there’s a good reason to go down that path.

What should YOU do?

Are you wondering whether you should begin to dip your toe into the world of social media marketing? We understand it can be intimidating and exciting all at the same time. Our advice is to follow the same steps we go through with our clients. Can you identify what you are hoping to accomplish as a company or do you just want to be able to say you have a Facebook presence? Who will do the actual implementation? Why do you feel now is a good time to invest in social media? Of course, if you want an outside perspective, you’re always welcome to contact us. Our primary piece of advice – don’t let the peer pressure surrounding social media make the decision for you. Weigh your objectives, your investment (in time AND money), and what you will be able to accomplish with your current marketing budget and workforce.

We hope this helps!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valeriebb/3006348550/sizes/ via Creative Commons


6 comments on “Manage Your Marketing: Should you “do” social?

  1. This is a very refreshing perspective to read! I also share the thought that social media needs to be part of a bigger communications/marketing strategy, and depending on the goals of the client and this strategy, it’s not always your time best spend. “Getting on Facebook” isn’t the answer to everything. Yes, in some cases this viral marketing can do wonders, but in most cases it will be hard to ever see a difference in sales solely from this effort.

  2. Wrong question. The right question is, “What, if anything, could we use social media for?” Social media MARKETING isn’t for everyone, but I have trouble believing there are very many companies out there who couldn’t benefit from some level of social media MONITORING. There are also some companies that may use social media for customer service. That, of course, would take an even greater investment and should probably only be done for companies who have the budget and have highly engaged customers. Great question to ask. I agree that too many businesses jump on the bandwagon simply from fear of being left out of the loop.

  3. There’s also the question of online reputation management. Cultivating support online for what you do – whether it brings profits or not – is a smart move for every organization, because the need to respond publicly can suddenly arise out of nowhere. In those instances, you want a community that’s already on your side. I don’t mean to imply everyone’s gotta do Facebook, but you do need a toehold somewhere – LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, whatever.

    • I agree Mary. Pick one social media channel and start using it. Even with a handful of posts or updates a year, you’ll be recognized for taking an active part online, even if it’s only a small one. Then, when you need to break out for any necessary reason, you’re already wet in the water.

      Sure, many niche or catalog businesses don’t see much need for social media, and yet, customers are asking to be heard about just about everything these days.

      If possible, it’s best to be ready.

      Of course, do these companies have the time, talent or resources to manage this potential new platform? That’s always the kicker…

  4. […] Manage Your Marketing: Should you “do” social? […]

  5. […] post about a meeting we had with a client of ours. Our client wanted to know if they should start jumping into social media marketing. They fully expected us to say yes – they knew that we had been active in the […]

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