Every time a new social media network pops up, a fresh set of articles follow, it seems. They all talk about the reasons you should hop on the bandwagon and incorporate this new network into your social media marketing plan.
Well, we say “enough”! Social media has enough cheerleaders, pro-social arguments, and lessons. It’s time somebody put their foot down and brought up some points about why you don’t need social media.
Don’t worry, friends. We’re ready to step up and fill the need!
7 Reasons to Ignore Social Media
It’s just another way to drive traffic.
Who needs social traffic? All those people following Twitter and Facebook links… they’d just put wear and tear on your website. Plus, there’s content marketing, directory submissions, and PPC to drive traffic to your site. Don’t be a sheeple! You CAN get traffic without social media, networking, or connecting!
You can’t handle the demand.
Who needs cheerleaders? This is an important point because social media is a proven driver of leads. What happens if you have a strong social media campaign? What if you get tons of leads? No… don’t worry about it. You have more work than you can handle! If you get on social networks, you may not be able to keep up with demand – and nobody wants that worry.
You can’t afford social media marketing.
Everybody talks about the “affordability” of social media, but success never comes cheap. Why, even if you have a social media marketing plan, it takes an hour maybe even two every morning to implement. With that kind of time suck even small businesses need a social media manager. – And, if you want to use something like Mentionlytics to track your social campaign, it’s a whole no money!
You don’t need feedback – your product and business are just fine, thank you.
The last thing you need is to worry about how people view your products, services, or business. So what if you can get instant feedback from your social media platforms? Who needs that headache? Nobody wants to hear about how their business, customer service, products, or services can be improved. –And anyway, improvement is highly overrated. There’s something to be said for “old school”.
Your site is at least ranking on the third page of the SERPs.
Just because social marketing is an important signal to search engines doesn’t mean it has to be an important signal to you. You’re on the third page of the SERPs, at the very least, and, really, that number one spot isn’t that valuable. It only gains about 54% of the traffic for that search, right? Pfft – who needs it!?
Relationships are for sissies.
When people talk about social media marketing strategies, they talk about “building relationships”. Look, you own a business. You’re in the business of building that business, not making friends. As well, there’s all this “trust” stuff, which doesn’t make sense. Why have all those trusted signals, like the VeriSign logo, on your site if it wasn’t to build trust?
You don’t need more publicity.
Millions of people, nay, hundreds of millions of people, use social networks. That’s a lot of publicity you don’t need. You have a fantastic product, and word will get out on its own. Besides, how much can you say in 280 characters or less that you can’t say when someone asks you what you sell? Waste of time, really.
Ah… sarcasm. Ain’t it wonderful? For you regular readers, you know how much weight we put on social media marketing campaigns and networking: a lot. -But if you’re going to be involved in social media marketing, there’s a right way and a wrong way.
How to Get it Right: Be the One With the Social Media Plan
For many, social media is a steady diet of information, entertainment, and interaction. It’s the ultimate snack bar for informavores, serving up tasty bit-sized nuggets to tempt, tantalize, follow, and consume. Therefore, it’s blatantly obvious when a part of the snack bar closes. If not approached with a strategy and a plan, social media marketing can easily become an overpriced ‘graveyard’.
I don’t know about you, but I hate it when that happens. Little frustrates me more than stumbling upon a social media gravesite: the dead remnants of a poorly thought-out social campaign. f you expect to use social media to your advantage—and not end up part of an online cemetery, you have to start with a well-thought-out strategy.
The Social Cemetery Of Dead Campaigns
How does it happen – the death of a campaign, that is? Have you ever wondered what happened to the people behind the accounts you come across? Or, like many, did you just shrug and go on? This is an important question because their stories teach lessons that could keep you from making the same mistakes if you only pay attention.
The average story goes something like this:
Joe is a quick, simple example. For many, however, it isn’t far off the mark. So what did Joe do wrong? If you’re a regular reader, you should be able to say the first part with me… He didn’t have a plan. Therefore, Joe is doing the well-trodden walk of shame, shuffling his feet into Never Should Have Socialized Land… but not so fast.
What Do You Want Social Media To Do For You?
What results do you want to see from a social plan? Think beyond just driving traffic to your site:
- Do you want to build your brand recognition? What/how are you going to build your brand? Write your steps out; understand what it takes to promote and market that aspect of your campaign.
- Are you hoping to interact with your customers and colleagues on a more personal level? What platforms are you doing this on? Do you have a timeline set aside to accomplish this? Think this down to the most mundane action in order to grasp the time it will take.
- Would you like to promote your products and services? Here is where the fun begins: how, why, where, and to whom? Do you know? Have you really assessed your market and your product? Are people talking? Do you have recommendations? These are all things that will connect the dots when outlined from the onset of your campaign
- Is your goal to expand and educate your customer base? How will you do that? Is it database driven? Does your hosting provider even accommodate your needs? Are you using social networks? How many hours and what tools will you use to automate? Will you automate?
You have to know the answer to the “results” question first, and every decision you make thereafter must be based on how it will help you reach your goal(s). Define one or two goals, as well as the length of time to reach them*.
*Hint: most goals will take at least 6 months to achieve with any type of strong ROI.
Where Are You Starting?
At this point, I’m not sure how much we like Joe. You see, he didn’t take the time to mark where he was in terms of traffic, conversions, and so on. We’ve said it before; you have to have baseline metrics. Set down your starting point before starting any campaign, so you have a data-backed way of tracking results. You can use several metrics to track your social media plan’s success once you know your goals*.
The metrics you track depend on the goals you set. For example, if your goal is to increase positive brand recognition, you might track:
- The number of times someone asks you a question
- Engagement on your blog or site once you start posting on social platforms
- Social mention sentiment
- How your social networks are growing
Hint: Setting goals gives you a baseline to see what is working for you and what is not.
What Social Platform Will Best Meet Your Needs?
For most people, the term social media conjures thoughts of Facebook and Twitter. Yet, the reality is that social media plan is more broadly defined, and encompasses outlets like blogs, video sharing, wikis, and much more. Some of these outlets will work for you, and some of them won’t.
If your goal is to promote special features and discounts, you might use venues such as:
- Twitter, to announce current company promotions. Make sure you schedule several posts in a day, write them differently, and make sure you can track them through one of the many Twitter analytic tools.
- eNewsletter, to share the latest company news. Use a service that allows you analytic access.
- Facebook, to share special, month-long discounts. Visit your Insights to see what’s happening and which posts receive the most feedback.
- YouTube, to showcase exciting new product lines. Allow your users to post video responses; get maximum participation.
Take the time to explore the world of social media, and choose what makes the most sense for your company and your goals.
Hint: Your goals, platforms, and your success metrics should be aligned. If you have a B2B business, for example, your goal might be to increase engagement on LinkedIn. Therefore, your success metrics might be followers, content reach, and engagement percentage.
What Goal /Result Is Most Important To Your Business?
Decide what’s most important. Then determine what you can realistically do on your own. If you only have an hour each day to devote to reading and responding to comments, then that’s all you can do. -And you should certainly use that hour if it is an important part of reaching your goals.
At the same time, don’t waste your energy on anything that doesn’t move you in the direction of reaching your goals.
Hint: Many start with the goal of “bringing traffic”. Not only is this goal a generic one, but it is also a waste of time. This goal should be refined by also laying out what you want that traffic to do. For example, “I want more traffic from Twitter to spend an extra minute on my shared blog posts.”
The Right Social Media Channels Bring Website Traffic and Conversions
Simply put, social media in general isn’t useful. You can’t be a sheeple, throw yourself at every social channel that comes along, and expect great things. However, successful social media campaigns are possible. It’s how you go about it that makes the difference.
Treat your followers like people.
With social and most other things, it’s all about building a brand. For a brand to grow, it has to be strong – more resilient. Building a brand on social media is the equivalent of building long-lasting partnerships. Treat your target audience like friends and colleagues; they’ll treat you with respect and, often, will send others your way.
Don’t lose focus.
You’ll have people who push you to join yet another social media platform. They’ll tell you how this platform is better than all the rest because…
If you’ve done your homework you know who your target audience is. You know what platforms they’re using, and you know the best times to post for the best reach. You even have a good content calendar.
Ignore the bandwagon. Don’t lose focus on your goal. Your goal isn’t to see how many social media channels you can be on. Your goal is to be where your audience is. With the right strategies, you can ensure your content won’t be doomed to meet its death at the Social Media Graveyard.
Build your customer influence.
The cheerleaders, the advocates, and the unpaid marketers; embracing customer engagement through social is a fantastic way to shape your brand, business, and products for the future.
This isn’t to say you embrace everyone. This doesn’t mean you follow everyone or answer every question that comes your way. You have to know what’s important. People are important, and how those people feel about what you’re promoting. “Hanging out” on social isn’t enough. “Chatting” isn’t enough. Social media isn’t a cure-all for business issues; if it’s not done right, it’s just a Band-Aid.
As you develop your social media marketing plan as part of your marketing strategy, remember that flexibility is important. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments as you experiment with what works for you and what doesn’t. No campaign, whether it’s a marketing, social media, SEO, or content development campaign, is written in stone.
That’s the beauty of working online today. It’s evolutionary, don’t you think? Go ahead, don’t be shy, tell me all about it…