I’ve been reeled in recently.

There’s a video over on Marketing Week that says social media marketing is mostly a load of old hooey. Their controversial columnist Mark Ritson makes some good points but also misses the mark, too.

For instance Ritson highlights Oreo’s much publicised Super Bowl blackout tweet and laments that even though 40million Americans buy Oreos every year only around 64,000 people could have seen the tweet.

In contrast, he says, Budweiser’s 60-second television spot was seen by approximately 50million, making it infinitely more successful in his book. His argument is more against the lazy journalism around social media, but his argument against social persists.

 

 

His view is very data-centric and broad, and in my opinion such a generalised view gives the medium a disservice. The biggest disappointment to me is that Ritson focuses on enormous nationwide and global brands with fantastical budgets and a social team of 20-odd people.

I think Ritson’s argument is an angry one against the wider advertising industry, and ignores the social successes of many smaller businesses.

Is Mark Ritson right with his comments about social media, or is it too one-sided? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Wide of the Mark

“When was the last time you read or heard anything about social media… not [being] right for your brand?”

Well, plenty of times, from restaurant owners and retailers calling their customers every name under the sun to brands that think disasters including 9/11 are opportunities to promote their products.

Social media’s good, but can be catastrophic in the wrong hands. But do it right and you can give people a great perception of your business if dark times visit your door. Just look at how Interflora’s team handled a previous Valentine’s Day fiasco with an excellent Twitter response.

And that’s what a lot of the above is all about: Twitter. A lot of Ritson’s objections are to do with Twitter and how large brands’ followers don’t match with engagement.

But as I’ve always pointed out, and agree with Mark to some degree, you have to go where your online market is spending its time and join in the conversation.

The point of social

I’ve mentioned before that it’s not wise to put all of your eggs in one basket, you need a strategy that encompasses all forms of marketing, from SEO to social to PPC, CRO, and some more traditional methods

You have to create an advertising strategy that’s in-line with your goals and ambitions, your budget, and most importantly, your customers.

 

Twitter is an excellent form of communications and getting your brand out there to a wider audience

 

Social media has and continues to evolve since the statistics Mark mentions, too. Mark mentions image clickthroughs for the Oreo campaign, but since then Twitter and Facebook have grown to include lead generation cards and calls to action buttons.

Which, to me, is the overall point of social. It’s an excellent form of communications and getting your brand out there to a wider audience, but can be a turn-off if you’re only using it to sell products and not interact with people.

If you’re doing that then save your budget, buy a bucket instead, and stand in the middle of the street shouting products and prices at people.

What’s the best online marketing combination you’ve ever used to get you followers and interaction with your customers? Let me know below!

The creative combination

I’m loathe to use a TV show to make a point but there’s an old episode of Mad Men where Don Draper says that, for clients, sometimes it’s better to be the needle instead of the haystack, to be different and let people discover you.

Nevermind Mark’s (valid) downcast social media points from business heavyweights with millions of followers. A quick Google search throws up three excellent case studies on the Hootsuite blog that underline how small businesses have used social media in a number of ways to increase engagement, raise awareness, and generate revenue.

And it’s from a range of different techniques and disciplines including creating content from within, sharing user-generated content, promoting posts, competitions, and more.

And that’s where real social success lies, in combining creative online techniques to paint an engaging and unique picture of your brand that captivates existing users and brings in new ones that will spread the word.

Social strategising

Social media and creative content marketing, for instance, are a beautiful combination that can really hit the mark with your target audience and differentiate your brand from the competition.

As polarising as it is The Lad Bible has turned from a social media profile to generating millions in revenue despite doing little more than finding content from other sites such as Reddit and posting it to a specific audience.

 

Social media gives you a better way to target specific people than the majority of other marketing platforms

 

That’s not to say that social media’s easy – far from it. Because of the nature of the content posted The Lad Bible will find it difficult to shake its laddish tag when it wants to become a more serious business.

But the bottom line is that social media gives you a better way to target specific people than the majority of other marketing platforms, with the right tools providing you with valuable data and metrics to help adjust your campaign and help it grow over time.

The real value of having a social media presence is being instantly accessible to your customers, to share stories with them, provide them with customer service, and let them know who you are and why you want to provide them with the very best service.

But to do it with social media alone is very hard, and akin to shouting in the wind. The right strategy made with the benefit of your customers in mind that draws on a number of different abilities is the best way for social success, and to help small businesses grow beyond their local area.

 

If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing and how you can use it to generate leads for your business contact the Webpresence team today!

 

(Images: AdWeek, SEOdipack)