I’ve been talking to a lot of companies lately, who are starting to think that maybe they need a social media campaign. Their mum’s brothers dog suggested it, because, well, you’re not anyone these days unless you’re on twitter, right?
Upon further investigation, it seems that they have had a few social media agencies come and pitch to them, most of whom have provided no history on their business, or even the individuals history in social media, but these “social media agencies” have confidently advised these organisations that they “need a social media campaign”. In some cases I have seen the client be set up with a nicely skinned twitter account, a Facebook page with their logo, log in details and a wing and a prayer.
So I want to get a few things straight about social media,
This is not a bandwagon everyone should jump on
Social media is not suitable for everyone. If you truly think you can “do” social media, this fact should be jumping about slapping you in the face when you meet one of these clients. It might be that they are never going to be able to make the resource work for them, they may have huge reputation management issues, that are going to swamp them as soon as you open the flood gates, or they may simply not get it yet. This doesn’t mean that you as a “social media marketer” can’t work with them though. Each of these problems can be worked on, you start with educating them perhaps, or working on a strategy to help them get the processes and procedures they’re going to need in place. Just because someone isn’t in the right place to launch a social media strategy, doesn’t mean that you can’t work with them, just that you need to lay the ground work first.
A Twitter account is not a social media strategy
Nor is a Facebook account for that matter. These things are social media tools, nothing more. They are not the strategy any more than having a phone is a telesales strategy. The minute you set up a twitter account without a plan of what that account is going to say, what it’s aims are and who it is supposed to be talking to, you’ve failed. You need to know (or rather your client needs to know) what the process is for dealing with negative comments, you need to ensure that your tweeting is fully compliant with regulators. You become the companies public spokes person, So you better be sure that you’re saying the right things before you start.
There are more than 3 social networks
So you’re creating a social media strategy. Great. Is your audience mass market? No? are you sure Facebook is going to be the most effective audience? Is it 20-30 something, affluent and left wing? No? Perhaps twitter isn’t going to be the medium for you. Is your audience very young? No? then stay the hell away from Bebo. There are hundreds, no make that thousands, of social networks out there. You’ve probably been using them for over a decade in some instances, but in the rush to get on twitter they are all but forgotten. Blogs, forums, yahoo groups, they’re all still hugely popular. What’s more (apart from the spam) they’re not marketed to. But they’re full of people who are interested in what you have to say.
There is one example of marketing to a targeted forum audience that always springs to mind for me, and it’s one you’ve probably all seen. Google has representatives in Webmasterworld they provide a service to the users of the forum, they are a port of call for webmasters all over the world. Is this marketing? Damn straight it is, and it’s one of the best examples I’ve ever seen.
There are so many ways to make a social media campaign work for an individual clients needs, targeting is the key. Lyndoman recently blogged that it’s not about the conversation, and I agree, for me it’s about the strategy.
Photo Credit: Stephen Poff