A former mentor and client stopped by the other day, and as part of our catching up he said he noticed that one of the services we provide is social media marketing. He told me that he’s seen a bunch of companies try social media marketing and fail miserably, so the rest of our meeting was talking about why that is. After all, social media marketing is the hottest new trend for businesses and organizations of all sizes, and there have been a lot of wins in this space- when businesses do social media right, the payoff is huge. So, why do so many companies fail in their social media marketing efforts?
We came up with one major reason. Apathy. That’s right. Plain old disinterest and inability to see social media marketing for what it is: an amazing way to reach your audience, and convert customers into evangelists.
I know, it sounds harsh to say that most companies who try social media are lazy butts who don’t really “get it”. But I’d say about two thirds of the companies who come to us think social media is about an occasional tweet or Facebook posting. They’re still thinking push instead of interact. They think social media marketing is akin to a record company hiring a street team to promote a band’s album, that it’s merely a promotion effort. It isn’t. They’re thinking one-way, shallow, and wide- but they should also be thinking two-way, deep, and focused.
Most of those guys also think social media marketing is something to just bolt onto their organization and they’ll instantly rake in the profits.
We do our best to help educate clients on how best to use social media as part of their marketing mix, but it doesn’t always work- the client has to be willing to learn and to be a part of the process.
Social media marketing, when done right, requires a true commitment from the organization. We need access to a client’s marketing and executive team. We need to get inside a client’s business and learn what makes it tick. We need to be in marketing meetings with your company, to know what campaigns are being developed and pushed in traditional media. We need to know your company, and we need to have access to people who really know your company’s story and values- and the answers to the kinds of questions we may be asked when working to promote your brand and helping to develop these relationships with your audience. In the end, social media marketing take commitment from every person in your organization, and a certain amount of transparency on the organization’s behalf. Yes, it also takes money and time.
Most companies are not willing to put in the effort. So, they relegate their “social media” efforts to the occasional Facebook status update and tweet. It’s pure laziness. And that’s why they fail.
(cool Fail stamp by Hans Gerwitz)