What are the major challenges companies and individuals face trying to kickstart a social media marketing strategy?
How can you overcome them?
This article outlines the 6 biggest hurdles to getting started with a strong strategy and provides some helpful tips on how to overcome them.
In a study by the Altimer Group, consulting firm, and Wetpaint, social media platform, 100 of the world’s most valuable brands were monitored to see just how much their social media marketing impacted their top line. The study demonstrated that companies with the highest level of social media activity increased revenue by 18 percent in the last 12 months, while companies that were the least active saw a 6 percent drop in sales.
So what does this tell us? Social media strategies can be highly effective if done right. This post is meant to point out some of the biggest challenges existing entities have when first approaching the idea of incorporating social media strategies into their marketing mix.
Regardless of where you are or where you stand, there are major challenges everyone faces when it comes to incorporating social media marketing into mix. Being aware of them is the first step to heading in the right direction so if your reading this post, congrats! You’re halfway there.
#1: Accepting the Fact that You Need A Strategy
Organizations and individuals cannot afford to ignore the conversations happening online about them. The truth of the matter is that if you are not online connecting with your customers, than your competitor is and so you are losing market share. When relationships are established and people feel connected to something, they want to talk about it and word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most valuable elements of brand development.
- Overcome it! If you are skeptical of social media marketing in the first place, do some more research on the subject to learn why you cannot afford to ignore the opportunity to engage.
- If you know you need a strategy, you just don’t know where to start, I will be providing more and more resources, tips, and help on where to begin. (In order for me to do that though, I need an incentive and that is visitors and subscribers so I know there is a need for this kind of stuff, so subscribe!).
#2: Realizing that You Have the Choice: Win or Lose?
This seems like a no brainer in theory but in practice it is actually slightly harder than you’d think to incorporate social media into existing entities. Why? Change. This goes for just about any new endeavor. You can choose to fail completely by not trying anything or you can choose to aim for success, at the risk of possibly messing up. People are fearful of the unknown and when it comes to monitoring a million little conversations, there are exponential unknowns to the equation. The concept is that if you don’t try, you cannot fail. This concept is false in so many ways because not trying is the biggest failure on can commit. Not trying to execute some type of social media strategy is failure in itself because the truth is, every minute you ignore the opportunity to connect, another hundred people join Facebook, read a blog about your industry, tweet something related to you. In essence, the opportunity cost of a well focused and thought out campaign equates to losing significant market share.
- Overcome it! Realize that social media is an empowering tool for everyone. It has the power to propel aspiring entertainers, business ideas, products and people into the spotlight to make their dreams happen. Liam Sullivan would not have such a strong audience without “Shoes” , iJustine would not exist, hundreds of ideas would not have made it off the ground without the help of kickstarter, and millions of consumers wouldn’t be able to access deep discounts without the collective buying power of Groupon.
#3: Understanding what Social Media Marketing is:
Wikipedia defines Social Media Marketing as a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, Orkut and YouTube.
This definition of social media marketing is arguably outdated.
From a high-level perspective and in the context of utilizing social media as a marketing tool, I define the practice of social media marketing as follows:
Social Media Marketing is a growing segment of new media marketing used to describe the ways in which marketers leverage social interactions to further objectives throughout the marketing mix.
- Overcome it! Learn about it! There is a world of resources and blogs online discussing the topic. The Social-Capitalist is one of them so be sure to subscribe! Lastly, very soon I will be posting a great resources page outlining some great guides and online resources for you to reference. Whether you are a company, entrepreneur, or just someone wanting to know how to manage your online identity better, the Social-Capitalist wants to help you get focused on where it counts in the new media world.
#4: Understanding How Social Media Marketing Can Further Your Marketing Objectives
A great marketer will listen carefully to your marketing goals and current strategy before jumping into any conclusions or making any recommendations on how to incorporate social media strategy. A common pitfall marketers and agencies have (and their clients fall subject to) is their short-sighted view of the opportunities and ROI social media marketing can have throughout all facets of your marketing mix.
- Overcome it! Half the battle of this is taking a minute to learn about all the ways social media can be leveraged to further your marketing goals. I will be providing a 5 minute presentation on this subject that will bring you up to speed in a future article. (Please subscribe to this feed so you can be connected with this resource as soon as it is posted. )
#5 Getting Over Excuses: i.e. “But I’m ______________ (broke, lazy, underfunded, too busy, etc.<—–fill in one lame excuse here)”
This one is a tad harder. There are many reasons people don’t invest time (and/or capital) into developing a strong strategy and implementing it. Sometimes they’re arrogant. Sometimes they’re just naive. Sometimes they just don’t develop a strategy and wake up one day realizing that they don’t have the time to keep up the company blog or Facebook page. That’s no fun either. Taking the time to fully understand the implications of moving forward is different for each company or entity. Companies need to consider time, budget, policies, and much more. Whatever the excuse is, it deserves worthy consideration as perhaps its a very valid reason for not moving forward with a social media marketing strategy. Good people can help you make this decision and great people can help you sort through your pros and cons for free. In fact I will be posting more content to help people sort through their options and weigh out their pros, cons and resources in the future so stay tuned or drop me an email if you have something specific to say at j (at) social-capitalist.com Don’t be shy. I’m here to help.
- Overcome it! When it comes to #5 , I can’t find many valid reasons that boot one out of the game. In fact, the opportunity cost varies greately by industry but more often than not, you cannot afford to make up an excuse. Marketing is changing and the way people exchange information is changing very rapidly. Companies really cannot afford to ignore the changing environment and their consumer’s behavior. If your company does not have it in it’s budget, than maybe you need to re-think your budget. If you are bootstrapped, maybe you need to consider learning up on the matter yourself (I can help!) and getting a highly motivated and savvy intern to put your plan into action. Regardless, I really can’t find many good excuses for not having a strategy here. You see, I subscribe to the entrepreneurial school of hard knocks in which we lived on couches and coffee and know that nothing worthwhile is ever easy. So, given that, I have a hard time swallowing any excuse for a lack of social media strategy here.
#6: Choosing the Right Resources
Assuming you don’t have a lame excuse, you need to find yourself the right resources to get the job done. Whether you are a Do-It-Yourself kind of person or an Outsourcer you still need to know how to pick your resources wisely. Even the Do-It-Yourself person should seek second opinions, information, coaching, and consulting. I will be providing more information for the Do-It-Yourself social media marketing person in an article very soon. Subscribe to the feed so you will be notified with a link as soon as that information is available.
Whether you are taking a word of advice or getting a package deal from a major agency, you absolutely must watch out for the social media “expert” and the “overly technical guy.”
- The Expert is a Self-Proclaimed experts are not experts. Multiple success stories and a huge portfolio of big names do not guarantee anything either. The truth is, no one can be an expert on social media marketing yet- it has no’t been around long enough and it is constantly changing. One can be an expert on World War II history, one cannot be an expert on Social Media.
- Overly Technical Guy (or gal) is totally lost in code and algorithms. They know SEO, they know how to put together a computer, they know how to create an amazing interactive phone app or website. This person sits in front of a computer all day and speaks code fluently, but do they speak social? You probably would not want them being the one to talk your customer out for dinner; thus, you do not want them managing your social interactions.
These two types are overwhelmingly dominating the social media marketing space and I come across them all the time, unfortunately.
- Overcome It! If you meet a marketer or agency that appears to share either of these toxic views of social media marketing, then proceed with caution. I will be discussing the tell-tale signs to help you better spot these toxic marketers in a future blog post.
The truth is, many new media marketers are still learning about new tools, tricks, services, technologies and more as they go. In all honesty, I’m one of them and if I was not constantly learning and staying up to date with new technologies and best practices, I would not be writing these articles and donating all this time to helping others learn to utilize social media as a marketing tool to further their goals.
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