Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Social Media: Who is responsible? The ball or the player who kicks it?

Is it the ball or the player?
Last week an article was published in a well known website whose title was "5 Reasons Social Media is Killing Marketing" and it generated quite an interesting conversation around it.

Personally, I would like to share with you my opinion on this issue, because I’m convinced it is important to clarify some concepts before they might be misinterpreted by young entrepreneurs and business people who can really come to think marketing is dead and social media are guilty of such death.

Social media is an additional marketing tool in your bag.

If there is someone who says social media are "the magic bullet to generate sales," as the article reads, then that person is making a serious mistake. Like any tool, social media, by themselves, don’t do anything.

They become either effective tools or not, depending on the way you put them to use not otherwise. Hence the title of this article: A ball parked in a soccer field by itself, is nothing more than a tool. It becomes an effective tool, or not, depending on the foot and skills of the player who kicks it, there is nothing more to it.

If social media has created "a generation of young professionals who speak instead of listening", it is responsibility of these professionals, not the platform they are working with.

Social media haven’t killed anything: They opened up another channel to interact with your audience.

Much is said that if you look for the quantity rather than quality, it’s a mistake. And it doesn’t have to be that way. In social media, as in many other things in life, there are no absolutes and, as Einstein said, everything is relative in this world.

Even though I’m a strong believer in quality over quantity, I also recognize that if your strategy is simply to gain as much visibility as possible, then quantity is the goal you’re gonna be going after.

It all depends on the lens through which you look at it, and the glass will be the goals you want to accomplish with your social media presence. For some people, it will be quality, for others quantity. At some times you'll want to generate conversations, others you’ll want to generate sales.

Everything will depend on the goals you have set, and on that, platforms like Facebook and Twitter can do nothing for you. If you use them incorrectly your goals will not be achieved, and you have to have that clear on your mind as it’s nobody's fault but only yours.

Social networks complement your marketing strategies.

Keep in mind you are doing business with human beings, and because it is people like you and me, at the end of the day, we all like to deal with humans whenever possible.

I say "whenever possible" because, again, there are no absolutes in this thing. There are companies with whom I have done business without having to interact with a live person.

However, in these cases, the company has made available for me communication channels to resolve my doubts and questions, such as online chat, Twitter accounts and others. Again, whenever you have the chance, establish with your customers a direct and personal contact, which is always more effective, even if it’s over the phone.

Social networks are always a complement to your marketing strategies, sometimes a very effective addition, other times not so much, but they’re there to be a piece of your overall marketing mix and help you achieve your goals, not to replace all marketing channels.

There is no need to choose between one or the other.

You don´t have to go either only digital or offline. It’s not like that. What is clear is that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in just one basket. The future of social networks isn’t certain and clear, as they might come and go, as has already happened in some other cases.

Nobody can guarantee Facebook will continue as the leader within 10 years, therefore, your marketing strategy should not only count on this platform, nor in any other for that matter.

Your company must have a comprehensive marketing plan, not focused on any specific platform, but properly built upon a mix of all platforms required to efficiently reach your customers, both potential and current.

That's why the key is orchestration: All your marketing efforts, and all platforms you’ve decided to use, should all work as a great orchestra in which the ultimate goal is a sweet melody: achieving your goals.

The big problem is improvisation: Not having a plan.

As with most things in life, in marketing and social networks not having a plan is almost synonymous of disaster. But marketing isn’t the one to blame, or social networks for that matter. The responsibility is on you, for not having a plan or clarity on your goals.

Social networks have been a great addition to the way we do marketing. A new tool. A very powerful one indeed. However, as the ball in a soccer field, if it falls into the hands of a non-skilled player, then wonderful things will never occur.

I recommend you read the article that inspired this post. When you do, think that social media are like the ball. What happens will depend on the player kicking it, not the ball itself.

Don’t you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments area, and you’ll enrich this little conversation.

Article that inspired me: 5 Reasons Social Media Marketing is Ruining Marketing.
Related article: Did you put all your eggs in just one basket? and also the Relationships’ value: What can you expect from Social Media?

No comments:

Post a Comment