Social media marketing is the beckoning and shiny new toy.
It started as clever but simple to use online technology where you could share multi-media content with friends, family and school colleagues. It was fun, engaging and it has touched the social human global psyche.
It happened because the intersection of technologies such as cheap high speed internet, low cost hard disk storage and software that made using social network platforms as easy as writing a Microsoft “Word” document became aligned at the same time.
Even the older generation found they could use Facebook!
CEO’s, business owners and management initially saw it as a distraction from serious business and traditional marketing. How could you take Facebook seriously when it was the social network that their son or daughter used to share their party photos from Saturday night?
What was the point of a a 140 character tweet?
Then the penny dropped.
Large brands realized that the marketing leverage and amplification that the “many to many” crowd sourced global conversations could bring to their marketing strategy was sizable and significant.
Coca Cola changed its marketing strategy from creative excellence to content excellence. They had realized that social media was able to spread their content and ideas with velocity and the crowd could create and share more stories on social networks than they could ever hope to buy.
Small to medium business were provided free marketing tools that they could use themselves to promote their business.
The democratization of marketing was now evident.
Along with this realization many myths about social media marketing have been spread that have caused confusion and disillusionment when the return on investment didn’t materialize or wasn’t apparent.


Myth #1. It’s Simple

There are many myths about social media marketing but the biggest one by far is that it is easy and can be done by an intern at lunch time.
For small, medium to large enterprises it is far from simple because social media marketing does not scale very easily and it requires many resources, skills and processes that until recently were at an adolescent stage of development.
With social media marketing you need to:

  • Write, film and snap the images and capture the content
  • Edit the content into a creative format that entertains, educates and inspires
  • Create it for the different types of media such as video, text (for blog posts), Twitter tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest images and other major social media networks
  • Establish processes that control the publishing and monitoring of the content that is spread globally by many individuals within one organisation that keeps the brand police happy
  • Publish it on multiple networks
  • Optimise it for a variety of multimedia formats
  • Develop and optimize it for many types of screens including laptops, iPad, iPhone, Android smart phones and tablets so that it renders properly and is easily viewed and consumed
  • Optimise the content and platforms for search engines
  • Monitor and measure the data you receive to see what works and what doesn’t


It is becoming a deluge of data on many social networks.
So far organisations in the main are using disparate and multiple tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Klout that add a layer of complexity and are silos of data and processes that do not lend themselves to the era of big social data.
Help is at hand.
Tools and processes are emerging to make it possible to do social at scale.
Vendors such as Sprinklr, Exact Target, Adobe, Brightcove and Viral Heat are amongst many companies that are developing enterprise class tools that are offering the promise of one stop social solutions platforms that will enable organisations to provide “social at scale”.
The Altimeter Group and Jeremiah Owyang have surveyed over 3 dozen vendors that offer the promise of providing the holy grail of “social at scale”. These are revealed in this presentation on Slideshare.
Read more: A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation from Jeremiah Owyang
To properly create, publish and manage this social data explosion we are seeing the emerging need in marketing agencies (and major brand marketing teams) for not just “creative” talents but people who understand technology intimately.
I look forward to seeing this emerging evolution of social media marketing as it moves from adolescent promise to mature and robust business class platforms and processes.


Myth #2. It’s Free

Planning , creating content, optimizing for search, publishing to multiple platforms takes time. Time is money.
The professionals with the skills and experience to make social media marketing successful are increasingly in demand and they need to be paid. In a lot of cases the free tools to manage and monitor the data explosion are not adequate to provide the insights needed to manage, sift and sort the data.
Enterprise class tools are not free. Participating on Facebook may cost nothing and tweeting is free but the content and eco-system to support a sustained social media marketing effort requires budget and commitment. Professional videos still cost money to produce and edit.
Free tools doesn’t mean that social media marketing is free.


Myth #3. It’s Just Facebook

Many organisations think that because Facebook dominates the social media numbers game with nearly one billion users, that it is the only social media network to consider in a social media marketing strategy.
Facebook only allows less than 15% of your updates to appear in your Facebook followers timelines through its “Edge Rank” algorithms.
If you are a B2B organisation then LinkedIn could be a social network you want to embrace firmly. LinkedIn is also one of the fastest growing social networks.
Twitter can be used to create a targeted group of followers that is expensive and slow to build on Facebook.
The rise of an increasingly visual web has made social media such as Instagram and Pinterest networks increasingly attractive as part of your social media marketing strategy. Some case studies are revealing that Pinterest is more effective than Facebook in driving social commerce. The online boutique store Boticca’s data is evidence of that.
The basics of marketing must not be forgotten in the frenzy of social media mayhem.


Myth #4. Social Media is the “Silver Bullet”

Social media is not your marketing saviour.
You need to have contagious content on your websites and blog that people will want to share on social networks. You need to relentlessly build followers, tribes and subscribers. This takes commitment and persistence. Don’t forget the role of traditional media such as email marketing.
Remember to continue to optimize your online properties for search engines. Being found on Google is still a “must do”. If you aren’t doing this then you need to reconsider some of your marketing budget priorities. Social media marketing advertising is still only $5 billion and search engine marketing spend is 10 times larger at $50 billion plus. Why?…because it works.
Facebook may be sexy and funky but Google is still king of online and its Google+ network is close to reaching a tipping point in social media consciousness.


What About You?

What has been your experience with social media? Has it been effective? Are you struggling to perform “social at scale”.
What has been your return on investment? Have you been able to measure it?
What other marketing works for you? Has email marketing been important to your tactics?
Are you paying enough attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so people looking for you online can find your in search engines results pages?
Let us know via our social networks Facebook or Twitter. Look forward to hearing your stories and successes.



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