I scratch my head about brands and organizations’ attitudes and behaviors towards social media marketing (SM).
Some use it very effectively and feel positive about its applications and results. They know and understand that SM is most effective when objectives, roles, responsibilities and results reporting are clearly identified and managed.
Brands like Ford, Sharp Electronics, Dell and Dunkin’ Donuts also believe that SM can connect with customers, create conversations, discover new product and service ideas, generate leads and motivate conversions. So, SM can be a productive path to sales and many brands are proving its value.
So, why do companies and brands suck, fail or lose at SM as Lee Odden suggests?
Odden feels that companies are not inherently social and they don’t recognize how a conversation is marketing at its basic level. They also don’t appreciate that SM is less about traditional talking at the customer and more about connecting with them in ways meaningful to them and the business’ goals.
He also suggests that the success of campaigns like the Old Spice guy inspire copycats that may be relevant for one target and completely uninspiring and irrelevant for others.
So, what do others feel about SM losing and failing?
Symosos believe it’s about proving ROI, senior management personal SM inexperience, organizations’ anticipated behavior overhauls and lack of demonstrated SM success.
I agree with all of those and add my reasons:
1. Organizations don't invest the appropriate time or money – they invest in call centers, e-mail mailings, etc., but they won't allocate time for a person or a team to manage and execute SM. But there are things that organizations already do that social media can enhance.
2. They don't understand how it works – many brands are stuck on controlling SM and ignoring the power of influence SM offers. Control is silencing the critic at a product demonstration. Influence is about listening to him and converting his passion or ideas into better products and service and even brand advocacy.
3. They expect results now – I love the above Geek and Poke cartoon. Remember, SM is not like a Super Bowl commercial overnight success. It takes times as it’s about expressions and experiences not impressions. The former takes time and can produce the cherished bounty of long-term brand loyalists.
4. SM is more than placing ads and videos on Facebook and YouTube – these efforts can trigger conversations but they are not the supercharged catalysts of SM. I worked with a firm recently that thought a mobile phone app teasing prospects about a product was social media. That’s a promotional tool which was talking at not with your customer.
5. Not sold that their target audience is there – in golf, the National Golf Foundation is proving that golfers are more and more on SM, using it to review, research, recommend and even purchase golf products and services. And the public’s time on social media keeps growing as Nielsen research keeps revealing.
6. They don’t know how and when to get started – KISS, and walk before you run. Use this powerful slowpoke guide to SM or even free webinars to learn. Get going through the steps of listening first, deciding how to participate and then measuring. Listening itself is a brand’s SM treasure trove. Our SM strategy for a leading golf brand was based on KISS and walking those three steps. They are pleased with their efforts and results.
So, SM can be sucky and yet it can be easy not to suck. Yes, SM needs to keep developing ROI, and many leading brands are showing it.
What are brands still on the sidelines or sucking at SM missing?
In addition to benefits already listed, I really appreciate what Odden says they are missing: chances to listen, create, engage, and eventually make money.
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