Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is The Social Medium the Message?

I'm on Facebook but I'm not on Twitter. I'm on Plaxo but I'm not on Foursquare. I'm on LinkedIn but I don't Flikr. Yet. I've been asked to join Referral Key and Ace of Sales, but I'm not sure what distinguishes them from other variations on those themes.

We're merely on the cusp of the social media revolution and already my head is spinning.

Welcome to the Summer Solstice edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

And as a hot summer day is wont to do to me, I'm starting to stroke from all the virtual means there are -- with surely more on the way -- to help "connect" me with my social and professional brethren. (And sisteren...or is that cistern? Never mind, that vessel has sailed...)

We all gotta do it to remain viable in the business world, though, right?

It's when these online and electronic outlets are touted as the only ways to achieve meaningful connectivity with our markets that we perhaps lose sight of more universal "truths."

Peter Shankman is the founder and Editor of HARO, about which I've written in the past -- "Help A Reporter Out," which offers subjects for both print and e-media for folks like you and me to contribute our expertise to -- but now he's weighing in on why "I Will Never Hire a Social Media Expert, and Neither Should You." This is excerpted from his blog, http://shankman.com/i-will-never-hire-a-social-media-expert-and-neither-should-you/ :


I was going to call this article “All “Social Media Experts” need to go die in a fire,” but I figured I should be nicer than that.

Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.

Social Media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. Say it with me. Repeat it until you know it by heart. Bind it as a sign upon your hands and upon thy gates. Social Media, by itself, will not help you.

“It’s not about building a website anymore! It’s so much cooler! It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence, and…”

Will you please shut up before you make me vomit on your shoes?


It’s About Transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now – It doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past. Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye. It’s about using the tools to market to an audience that wants to help tell your story, because you’ve been awesome at providing them with the service they deserve.

It’s About Relevance. It’s not about tweeting every single time your company offers 10% off on a thingamabob. It’s about finding out where your customers actually are, and going after them there. If you’re tweeting all your discounts, and none of your customers are on Twitter, then you sir, are an idiot. Marketing involves knowing your audience, and tailoring your promotions in specific bursts to the correct segments. “Social media experts” don’t know this. They’ll build you a fan page, and when all that work doesn’t convert into new sales, they’ll simply say “Well, we’ll just post more.” Don’t be that guy. Real marketers know when to market using traditional methods, social media, or even word of mouth. Go ahead. Ask a “social media expert” what a traffic planner does at an agency, then laugh as they quickly ask Google for help finding the answer.

It’s About Brevity. You know what the majority of people calling themselves “Social Media Experts” can’t do, among other things? THEY CAN’T WRITE. The number of “experts” out there who can’t string a simple sentence together astounds me. Guess what – If we have about three seconds to get our message across to a new customer, you know what’s going to do it? Not Twitter Followers. Not Facebook Fans. Not Foursquare Check-ins – NO. What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. BAD WRITING IS KILLING AMERICA. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication.

Finally, it’s about knowing your customer, and making sure your customer thinks of you first. When Barry Diller was running Paramount, he’d call ten people in his Rolodex each morning, just to say hi. That translated into all of Hollywood knowing this previously unknown executive’s name, because he took the time to reach out and communicate. It also translated into Paramount making billions in a time where other movie companies were struggling. Do you know your audience? Have you reached out to them? I’m not talking about “tweeting at them,” I’m talking about actually reaching out. Asking them what you can do better? Asking those who haven’t been around in a while what you can do to get them back? It’s not about 10% off coupons or “contests for the next follower.” For God’s sake, be smarter than that.

Social media is not “cool.” MAKING MONEY IS COOL. Social Media is simply another arrow in the quiver of marketing, and that quiver is designed to GENERATE REVENUE.

If you’re doing anything else with social media, here’s a book of matches, and I expect to never see you again after the smoke clears.

Whew. And I thought I had the market on rants...

Join us again the first Tuesday of next month when we Morse-code you another edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin

704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
ISES, NAWP, Visit Charlotte

1 comment:

RNM said...

You nailed it Joel. Mind if I post this on Twitter? :)