“Social media marketing is an insular and largely meaningless game where the perceived winner is not the brand that gains awareness, consideration or purchase intent but the one with the most retweets and likes. . . The problem rests not with social media but with marketers. I blame marketers for focusing on quick fixes and easy metrics rather than appreciating that–as always–brands gain customers’ trust, usage and loyalty through hard work and not button clicks.” -Augie Ray
Social media marketing is being defined in a number of ways and continues to change as social networks evolve, new networks emerge, and mobile devices begin to transform and dominate our future. But what is social media marketing? Wikipedia defines it as “. . . the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.” Although succinct, that definition seems less than complete. Other definitions include the idea of using social networks to promote your brand to gain more fans, followers, click throughs, likes, and a plethora of other social currencies. Although these all seem to have a place in social media marketing’s definition they don’t capture the true essence of social media marketing: 1:1 communication.
Social Media Marketing vs. Marketers
Although Augie Ray suggests in his title “Social Media Marketing is Broken” he is correct in citing marketers as the reason why many social media marketing programs are ineffective or fail. Many marketers focus on the following “tactics”:
- Repetitive ads
- Hard sell press releases
- Twitter ‘bot broadcasting
- Social currency exchanges (I’ll like your page if you like mine)
- Flash sales
- Deal of the Day websites
Although some of these tactics work to a certain degree, they only work in the right situations and at the right times. Rarely are any of these tactics effective for a continuous ongoing marketing program.
Traditional Marketer’s Mindset: Scale
All of the above listed tactics have one thread in common that happens to be the biggest problem marketer’s face every day: scale. Scale or scalability is the idea that a brand’s messages will receive exposure to the largest number of potential prospects and current clients as possible. What is driving marketers in today’s social media marketing world to utilize old, less than effective, traditional marketing tactics? One answer is the pressure from their superiors or clients. Another, just as prominent, is the fact that many marketing professionals’ backgrounds and experiences were based in traditional marketing tactics.
What’s the Answer?
The answer is not scale as the end all be all for your marketing program. It is not blind, traditional marketing tactics that do not engage the prospect or customer. And the answer is definitely not doing the same things when those things are not creating effective results. Engaging 1:1 marketing tactics within a comprehensive marketing strategy is the answer. Stay tuned as we will outline this idea in our next post.