Friday, 30 September 2011

Newsflash! Social Media Marketing is not easy and not everyone can do it!

In the past few week's articles, I've been getting into some of the nitty gritty of facebook's functionality, but this week i'm taking a broader view.

Over at Marketing Week, a study has highlighted the fact that many businesses are still failing to make the most of Social Media. It's not that they're not using it, but rather employing ineffective strategies, not measuring returns and at the bottom line, wasting money.

That money might be wasted by giving current employees responsibility for Social Media Campaigns, when they're not quite up to the job.

Like any marketing, if the delivery bloke does it between runs, it ain't gonna be that great. Whoever's doing it needs a bit of nounce (sorry to any delivery drivers reading and I know some of you do) and a realistic amount of time allocated.

At least being familiar with facebook, twitter, et al, is definitely an advantage, if not a necessity, so a young intern or temp could be useful, but how well can they really represent the culture and brand of the business? Even if they're a Marketing trainee, there's a heck of a lot for them to have to consider in a serious Social Media approach. That's a lot to ask, no matter how good they are.

A marketing manager, with years of experience, might still find facebook a foreign land and not quite have the catchy lingo to maximise a status update's 'shareablility'. Just getting to grips with how to use the various platforms would be a massive time drain and unlikely to result in anything like the necessary knowledge of the tools required.

At the same time, the marketing manager's attention and efforts are taken away from the things they're actually good at and which benefit their business.

Ok, ok, it won't always be a disaster. If there's a marketing professional working in the company, who has a good grasp of Social Media, then that money might be well spent, but that's still far from certain.

So, just like in other areas of marketing, many businesses make the decision to go outside and employ a marketing agency to run their Social Media campaigns. If they make the right decision, they'll choose a company like us, who demonstrate a considered, joint-up approach and who delivers results.

But that's not everyone and here's where money can again be wasted.

A top tip and general rule in marketing, which possibly extends further through business, is never criticise the competition. That said, some marketing agencies are just plain rubbish. So rubbish, in fact, that we wouldn't consider them competition, so I think I can get away with it. If a business chooses a rubbish agency, then they should have done there homework better, and can expect little from their spend.

Most will make a a better decision, but marketing is very multi-disicplinary, and if the online side of a good agency's work isn't quite up to scratch, they'll struggle with Social Media. If an agency's websites are just as great as their posters, they're more likely to be effective at Social Media marketing. Ideally, they'll have at least one specialist or at the very best, a whole team dedicated to the practice.

Just like us. We have a great team and our strategy's are responsive to individual businesses and always evolving, as the campaign rolls out and continues.

We don't pretend to have all the answers, but marketing within Social Media is a young discipline and anyone who says they do, is terribly over confident. Facebook on it's own has vast functionality and a scope that even Mark Zuckerberg can't predict.

Social Media itself is very young and who knows where it will be in five years, if indeed it still actually exists in anything like the form it does now. Marketing within it is always a challenge, as it's always changing, but can offer great rewards... if done right.


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