When I started my marketing career, almost 20 years ago, the internet was a new medium and businesses were just starting to take it seriously as a tool for targeting and communicating with their customers. As with all technological innovation, businesses were unsure how it worked and who’s job it was to run. This led to a situation where many companies had a marketing strategy and a separate web strategy, implemented by the IT department.
Social Media Marketing Tips
Over the next ten years, the internet became common in our lives and web strategy merged into marketing strategy. During this period the ubiquitous ‘e’ that suddenly appeared before all business words – e-strategy, e-planning etc, disappeared as the electronic element of business merged into business. Companies realised that this new technology was not separate to marketing, it simply offered a new range of tools to use in conjunction with the existing ones.
Social Media is now at the stage that websites were all those years ago. Businesses have been caught out by the sudden growth of this new media and are panicking trying to work out what it all means to them! The initial response was to throw money at it without thinking. Last year GM announced they were pulling a $10m advertising spend with Facebook as they were getting no return from it. This suggests to me that not much planning went into the initial spend.
Social Media, like the internet itself, is not about marketing. Its about people. However, it can be used for marketing. To use it successfully, it needs to be fully integrated into your marketing strategy and work in conjunction with the other elements of your marketing – website, PR, print, direct marketing etc. Just having a Facebook page is not a marketing strategy! This is especially true if your targeting a B2B market.
Social Media needs to be included in your marketing plan from the start. Ask yourself:
- Who and where is my target market?
- What am I trying to communicate to them?
- What is the most cost efficient combination of marketing tools to effectively communicate my message to my market?
The answer to the last question should include a range of marketing tools (print, web, social media etc) that are integrated i.e. work together to get the maximum return from your marketing investment.
When integrating Social Media into your marketing plan, keep it focused and targeted. Don’t fall for the trap of jumping on board with every Social Media site that appears.
Focus on who your customers are and how to target them. If that includes a particular Social Media site, use it, if not, don’t.