This is a social media blog. We clearly love social media and feel it has value. But do businesses sometimes put too much emphasis on social media when it comes to marketing and PR? I think they do. And I think social media “experts” are to blame.
With all of the hype around social media tools and tactics, I worry that other more effective efforts (and ones where results are more easily measured) are sometimes ignored. Or at least they’re sometimes put on the back burner. Today let’s de-emphasize social media a little bit and put it back in its place.
Social Media’s Place in a Larger Plan
Social media should not be the only element of any company’s marketing plan or PR strategy. It doesn’t make sense. It would be careless and irresponsible for anyone to suggest that to a client. After all, we’re still trying to figure out how to determine actual ROI for many social media efforts, and so far all general metrics I’ve seen in this area are faulty in at least some way.
That’s not to say companies shouldn’t put time and money behind a social media plan. But that social media plan should fall within a larger marketing plan and / or public relations strategy. It’s not as though things like conversations and gathering and listening to customer feedback is anything new. The same goes for word of mouth (viral) marketing. Far from it. In the end social media has always been about the tools. But how important should those tools be in marketing and PR work?
Well, that depends on what those tools can deliver. Can those social media tools help you reach specific and measurable goals? Great. Consider them. Can those same tools help you reach your goals more effectively than more traditional tools? Sometimes they can. Sometimes they can’t. And that’s what you need to assess before jumping into any social media plan. If things like Facebook and Twitter and blogs and viral video don’t offer the best return, don’t use them just because it’s what everyone is talking about these days or because some consultant said you should. That’s especially true when said consultant knows little to nothing about the other options available to you.
Speaking of other options, here are a few other marketing and PR tools you could consider adding to your arsenal. But remember, just like social media tools they should each be carefully evaluated. You want the best mix for your business, not the most popular one.
- Email marketing
- Content marketing (like article marketing and features in trade publications)
- News releases (yes, even the non-social kind)
- Websites (from your main business site’s marketing copy to microsites)
- SEM (search engine marketing)
- Advertising — online and off, from PPC (pay-per-click) to television ads to billboards
- Direct marketing mailers
- Affiliate marketing
- Special events or event sponsorship
- White papers
- Surveys and industry reports
- Newsletters (print or email)
Come on now. It’s your turn. What are some of your favorite more traditional marketing and PR tools that seem to get little attention these days due to social media’s over-shadowing? With the small and online business clients I work with, I see several of these tools being sorely neglected in favor of a rush to social media. Do you see the same happening in your own business or market, or is it perhaps that people just stopped talking about them? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts (yeah, I’m asking you to be “social” anyway).
Social media popularity is definitely a very good metric to analyse web trends. But it’s very much more hyped. The hype and perceived value is way more than the true value it actually brings. And everybody is behind the bandwagon and ‘buzzwords’!
I remember the old saying, “all the cows are behind the first cow!”
A welcome article. Cheers!
I’m not sure if I’d call popularity a metric exactly. Instead it’s the faulty ways current metrics are interpreted (and then mistakenly labeled as “influence”). I also wouldn’t say it’s very good. Analyzing trends? Absolutely a good thing to do, especially if you work in social media. But popularity metrics aren’t necessarily a good way to do that. I’m not familiar with that saying you mentioned. But it sounds a lot like our concept of “sheep” — people following the crowd somewhat blindly. I think both apply to the issue of pseudo-influence these days in social media.