I’m feeling a little snarky this morning so I’ll apologize in advance if this comes across as yet another bitter old guy (all you kids get off the lawn!).
I ran into yet another so-called “social media guru” the other day. OK, I ran into the chaos they left but felt as if I’d been smacked across the face by their incompetence in person. Oh, they market themselves far better than I do – that’s how someone of their abilities manages to get nice gigs with otherwise smart clients – brilliant marketing. They excel at leveraging themselves online. Bringing those tactics to bear for clients in a manner that grows the client’s business? Not so much. Let me explain.
Even as we’re five years into the age of social media marketing (I hate that term), many clients aren’t told the truth about it by those of us they employ to bring them up to speed. Some of my so “peers” don’t explain that social is hard work and it’s not a place to stash the interns (since they’ll be on Facebook and Twitter all day anyway). Make a page and magic will happen!
That’s an apt analogy except very few of us point out that when “magic” happens as we watch a performer do a trick, hundreds or thousands of hours of prep and practice have gone into making it seem seamless. There are often specialized boxes or mirrors involved and one false move brings disaster. Of course, “smoke and mirrors” is not exactly the type of reputation I think we’d want for our brands but I could be wrong. Magicians put in the work and have the right tools.
So let’s try this one more time. To do social well, companies have to blow up a very fundamental part of their thinking. While most marketing is all about the product or brand, social is not. It’s about your audience, and you need to focus squarely on them with the odd brand message here or there. What’s helpful to them? If you’re not willing to make that investment as well, maybe think about print or TV or some other medium where you can just barf out messages about how great you are. You need to have a plan and tools and people with enough business acumen to assure all the stakeholder interests are aligned, including those of your customers.
And you “gurus?” Get off my lawn…