Everyone seems to be doing social network marketing. Everyone tells you you should be doing social network marketing. So, you figure you should add social media to your marketing strategy. You read some books, such as Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan and subscribed to some websites with interesting information on how to do social media, such as MarketingProfs, Mashable and, of course, this site, where you learn more than just social marketing, you learn marketing strategy, marketing research, and other cool marketing things. You even get a certification from Inbound Marketing University. So, you’re ready to launch your social media marketing strategy. Right? Maybe not. Here’s why social media marketing might not be right for you.
5 Reasons NOT to use Social Media Marketing Strategy
1. It takes time
2. It’s a long-term commitment
3. It pulls resources from other marketing strategies
4. It annoys the H**L out of your customers
5. It may not generate the profits you expect
Now, don’t get the idea I’m one of those anti-social marketing folks. I love social media and think it’s a great way to build a business — for some businesses. For some businesses, its a waste. Just like everything else in your marketing strategy, it’s an option that should be CONSIDERED. So, let me expand on my Top 5 list and ask yourself the following questions to see if social media marketing is right for you.
A social media marketing plan takes time.
Setting up your social media will take time. Developing your marketing strategy with respect to social media takes time, it will take time nearly every day to add content and communicate in your chosen media, it’ll take time to find influencers for your product, it’ll take time to stay abreast of changes in social media and network marketing tactics that work. In fact, it takes more time than you thought it would when you developed your social media marketing strategy. It’s also hard to take a break from social media — you start to lose the social network you’ve put so much time into cultivating. So, that month-long trip to the Orient or frequent business trips may make it impossible for you to stay connected with your social network.
Questions: Do I have the time for this? Will it take time from other projects that might be more profitable? Will it take too much time away from family and other commitments? Can I stay focused on the internet over a long period of time?
A social media marketing plan is a long-term commitment
Using social media is not fast — despite all those emails, Tweets, and other messages that promise you’ll be making thousands of dollars overnight. It will likely take months for your social network marketing efforts to begin to show much in the way of pay back. There’s the rare exception, but don’t expect miracles overnight.
Questions: Do I have the patience to wait for your social media marketing strategy to pay off? Do I have the reserves to survive until I start making money from my social media marketing strategy? Do I have what it takes to keep working on my social media marketing strategy when I see few tangible rewards for my efforts?
A social media marketing plan pulls resources away from other marketing efforts.
Whether you implement your own social media marketing strategy or hire someone to do it for you, it will take time and money away from other marketing efforts. It also may blur your organizational focus somewhat, as decisions will have to be moderated for their impact on your social networks. In an organizational setting, doing social marketing may not be popular and may create conflicts between factions or between your traditional media and social media folks.
Questions: Do I have enough resources to go around? How will social media fit within my traditional media? Who will control the new initiatives and help them fit within existing marketing efforts? How can I best avoid conflict as I implement social media?
A social media marketing plan annoys the H**L out of your customers
Face it, you wouldn’t be very popular if we walked into a dinner party and started selling, so you’re not going to be any more popular doing this in social spaces. At its worst, social media can alienate existing customers and may drive off potential customers. If done right, however, your social media marketing strategy can be a benefit to consumers, both existing customers and prospects. Implementing a social media marketing strategy that helps build strong relationships with customers and draws in prospects revolves around providing valuable content to them and interacting with them in meaningful ways. This takes a little finesse and a lot more time — time to implement your social media marketing strategy and more time for the marketing strategy to bring forth fruit.
Inevitably, pissed off customers will find your social network marketing efforts and exploit them as a tool to retaliate against you for whatever failures they see you’ve done. The poison spread by these customers can destroy your business.
Questions: Do I know how to create content customers and prospects will find valuable? Do I have sufficient content to keep customers and prospects engaged with my company and its products? Do I know how to get customers and prospects to engage me and my company? Can I update content so its stays fresh? Do I have a plan to deal with disgruntled customers who invade social networks?
Your social media marketing plan may not generate the profits you expect
The reason for doing social media marketing is to make money. You need to have realistic expectations of how much money you’ll make from your social media marketing plan and these expectations need to be built into the strategic plan. You need milestones and metrics to help you stay on track, make changes to your strategy, and you should be willing to scrap your efforts if they don’t show positive signs within some period of time.
Questions: Can I build a realistic budget for my social media marketing strategy that shows profitability? What metrics are needed to ensure my social media marketing plan is on target? Are there milestones I should expect to reach that are indicative of success? At what point should I simply cut my losses and close up my social media marketing efforts.
Conclusion: Social media marketing strategies can be a very important tool as part of your overall marketing strategy. Indications are that this importance is likely to grow over time. But, is social media marketing right for you. Answer the questions above, then make the decision whether social media marketing will lead to success for your business