Today it seems that anyone that can get a group of fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter is calling themselves a social media guru. Most of these people can use the social media sites with proficiency, but have no idea what it takes to use the tools in a marketing campaign or business environment. How can you tell if a social media “expert” is wasting your time. Here are some warning signs:
Do they tell you that social media is a great strategy for every company and if you don’t have a social media strategy you will be left behind?
Social media is not appropriate for every company and every situation. It depends on if you have the resources to support a campaign, who your target market is, and how it fits with your current marketing strategy.
Do they measure their success by how many fans or followers they got?
Fans and followers are not a measure of success. You could have 5,000 fans but if none of them use your product or service then the campaign has failed.
Do they tell you that they will manage the entire process for you and you won’t have to do anything?
Social media isn’t about pushing out a bunch of marketing messages, it’s about engaging in conversation. Who would you allow to have a direct conversation with your customers and prospects? What kind of training is involved before you let someone pick up the phone for the first time? Allowing a social media provider to manage all of your social media channels without active engagement and commitment from your team to support them can be disastrous.
Do they tell you that social media is special and your current marketing strategies won’t work? Do they tell you that social media is the only marjeting you will need?
Social media is a tool. It’s not a magic wand that will make customers appear. It is not a replacement for other marketing strategies. It is one more tool for you to use in conjunction with other marketing tools. The key is to integrate social media and use it as part of an overall campaign.