Social media has earned a lot of attention in the past year for being the latest “must-have” of any integrated marketing campaign. While social media marketing is extremely valuable and can be tailored to work for almost any company in any industry, it is not the magic bullet that some businesses seem to think it is. Having a strong social presence is just one part of a well-rounded marketing strategy. If you’re focusing the majority of your efforts and budget on social media marketing, you could be limiting your chance for success.
I’ll admit that I use social media marketing on behalf of my own company, and I find it useful in its own way. Twitter is a great place to link to great content, both blogs and articles that I write and to those that I find interesting/useful. I post the latest SEO video lessons to Facebook and am a member of Internet marketing, SEO and social media marketing groups on LinkedIn. All three social networking sites are a great place to build the Brick Marketing brand, but I don’t expect to get any real leads from my time spent on these sites.
When it comes to establishing connections, I consider getting social media followers/Fans to be of secondary importance. My primary goal is to get website traffic to convert; I want them to fill out a proposal form or sign up for the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter. All my social media marketing efforts are designed to drive traffic to the Brick Marketing site, not the other way around. That’s why I always recommend that clients place their “Connect with Us” buttons in the footer of their website. Why would you want to encourage someone to leave your site and Like you on Facebook? Isn’t it better if you encourage them to stay and get them to do business with you right then and there?
I’m not saying that having those relationships on social networking sites isn’t important. You never know what kind of affect your presence there is going to have on a potential customer. Think of it this way, say someone sees a one of your Tweets and follows it over to your blog. They read through a few posts and are impressed by your content, so they sign up for your RSS feed. After a while they connect with you on LinkedIn. They find out you’re going to be appearing at an upcoming tradeshow from a press release you sent out, so they make sure to stop by your booth. There, you get them to opt-in to your bi-weekly newsletter. Somewhere down the line they visit your site and finally fill out your proposal form. Which touch point do you attribute that lead to? They never followed you on Twitter or Liked you on Facebook, but you eventually converted them. Isn’t that the real goal?
Having 30,000 fans/followers is certainly impressive, but you have to look at the quality of those social networking connections. Did you run a Facebook promotion where consumers had to Like your page to get the special deal? How many un-Liked your page when the promotion was over? How many of your Twitter followers actually reTweet your posts? How many of those accounts are even active?
At the end of the day, your social networking activities need to help you build your brand, drive traffic to your site and help you convert visitors into purchasers. Having 30,000 fans/followers doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t help you achieve those goals.