I a fantastic post by Rebecca Lieb, “Here Come The Social Media Carpetbaggers” from Clicks, she discusses the hoard of social media experts who have come streaming out of the wood work with proposals in had and “expert banners” waving. I’ve said for some time now that social media should be taken in stride and should not be used to generate sales of any type. Sure, if sales “accedently” or unintentionally arise from social media marketing…that is a wonderful thing. If your objective is to accomplish this task it is going to end up a major epic fail.
I find it as amazing as Rebecca does, how everyone and their distant uncle can now execute, build, track, and offer bright shiney success stories about how well they have done for their clients with social media. Much like Rebecca’s comments, I firmly believe that if you are going to pursue social media you should do it in house. The cost in human hours to build out social media outlets, run comments, and interact with your auduience can be a very large task.
Don’t believe all you hear about how wonderful and magical social media is. It is what it is…a way for people to communicate online with each other. It is not a new toy or marketing outlet for you to make your next fortune. The majority of individuals on social networks are there to interact with each other, their friends, family, and grow networks. If you REALLY want to interrupt that interaction with ads, or annoying pokes into their “social webworking” I would hazard to say that you will be engaging in demanding your message is heard and it will backfire.
As I’ve said many times over now…social media, if used as a tool to allow for communication, idea exchanges, developing brand awarness, and credibility can crate a special relationship that will pay you back in the long term. Be wary of the salesperson who suggests a large investment in the social media space. If you are going to take the leap…get your goals, expectations, and self in check.
Social media is still very new [about 2 years old now] and Internet marketing is around 12 years old. We are still dealing with a new digital era. Social media should not be confused with direct advertising…social media is a communication tool and not an advertising tool. Use it wisely and you will prosper…force you message and it will come back to haunt you.