When was the last time you met somebody, whether it be a Company, a Freelancer or even a Freelancer masquarading as a Company who described themselves as a "Social Media Expert"? Chances are that this wasn't too long ago. As an agency, we come across many, many, many social media experts who to give them credit, understand how to use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn and many of them also understand how to build audiences or communities on these platforms and even how to post content that attempts to interact with their audience.
But it stops there.
Next time you meet a Social Media Expert, ask them the following:
- What will be the KPIs for this activity?
- How will you generate new business leads for my business?
- How will you help me to retain clients?
- How will you use Social Media to help me nurture my leads?
- What will be my Return on Investment from this activity?
The very second that the Social Media Expert starts to talk about numbers of likes, or numbers of followers or uses fluffy (and cringeworthy) words such as "engagement" or say things like "it's all about community management" is the very second that you should thank them for their time, pick up your bag, turn around and walk. And never look back. Take another second to pat yourself on your back for recognizing a potential fraud.
And that's why I belive Social Media Marketing is the worst industry in the world. Ever.
Unfortunately for social media, this phenomenon came into prominence during 2008, 2009 and 2010, when millions of people across the world found themselves jobless due to the global recession. Those that were more resourceful than others, re-invented themselves and some of these, almost over night became Social Media Experts, or Guru's or Evangelists or whatever else made them stand out from the rest. And then they started talking to clients about how their businesses could not survive without social media.
The result of this, is that many businesses did the right thing and embarked on working with social media experts to create a social media strategy for their business. But after a short few months of no results or any sight of return on investment, many businesses made the incorrect assumption that social media doesn't work for their business.
And that's where it gets frustrating.
We often have potential new clients who say to us "We tried social media, but it didn't really work for us". When we ask them what it was they tried, they often describe a isolated story based around a few posts on Facebook and Twitter rather than a fully integrated strategy that would have given them the results they desired.
You see, Social Media Marketing, when strategised and implementated correctly for your business and its needs, can be glorious.
It can be the source of high quality traffic for your website, be the place where your business can host incredible, informative content, be an incredible SEO vehicle, provide highly targeted brand visibility, be a consistent source of new business leads and generate revenue. Yes, revenue. Actual cash for your business from new clients who previously may not have known that you existed. Social Media Marketing can genuinely be a business growth catalyst for those that use it correctly and take advantage of new opportunities that are created almost on a daily basis.
And that is why Social Media Marketing is the best (and most exciting) industry in the world. Ever.
But creating and implementing winning strategies that tick all of the above boxes, is not easy. In fact, it is extremely difficult and requires a level of knowledge and expertise of many aspects of digital marketing. Skills such as content creation and copywriting, search engine optimizing so that all content created can be found online, web and landing page development to host your content and to manage forms and call to actions to help generate new business leads and of course content distribution (which is where social media comes into play), all need to play a part in a well executed digital marketing strategy.
Notice that social media isn't in fact the main part of the strategy. More often than not, the best strategies merely use social media as part of the marketing mix rather than the full driver of the strategy, which isn't often communicated properly to businesses. The main reason being that social media experts generally only see what they understand, which is not digital marketing as a whole but just the small part of this that we call social media.
If your business really wants to understand the value that a digital marketing (and yes, social media) strategy can bring to your business talk to us. We will never proclaim to be social media experts. That doesn't exist in our eyes. What every business needs is a digital marketing expert that understands (your) business and the commercial opportunities that the web, search engines, content and social media together can bring to provide you with tangible returns.
And that's what we do.