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Why Marketers Are Missing the Point of Social Media

  |  July 11, 2012   |  Comments

It doesn't matter if people want to engage with you on your page; it matters that they buy your product…and get other people to buy your product.


fotolia-2226525There is a saying, "When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail." The problem, obviously, is that a hammer isn't the best tool in every situation.

The same is true of social media. Just because you have a Facebook page for your business, doesn't mean that activity surrounding the page should be the focus of your social media marketing activities. Unless you are in the business of getting lots of Facebook "likes" (which you aren't), it doesn't really matter if people want to engage with you on your page. It matters that they buy your product, and (ideally) get other people to buy your product.

Not only is it not about how many fans you have, but it isn't even about how many people interact or care about your page.

Reality check: Social media marketing isn't just about you and the way that you think people should connect with your business.

I Don't Want to "Like" the Products I Like

Consider this. I love the Swiffer SweeperVac. Seriously, it is one of my favorite products and I recommend it to people all of the time. That being said, I have no interest in "liking" Swiffer on Facebook or following it on Twitter. I love the company's product and that is the only kind of relationship that I am interested in.

Reality check: Not everyone who likes your product or even loves your product wants a relationship with you online.

Many Businesses Are Solving the Wrong Problem

Many businesses approach Facebook with the assumption that their goal should be to get more fans or "likes" on their page and to drive engagement. The assumption is that this leads to business over time, and there are some studies that do show links between business goals and Facebook.

But think of my Swiffer example and what actually drives its business. It isn't about me "liking" its page and talking to other Swiffer fans (which I have no interest in); it's about me talking to my friends, on my own timeline about its product. That is what gets Swiffer business.

Reality check: You aren't trying to get more fans or interactions or engagements on Facebook, you are trying to harness the power of Facebook to grow your business. This may happen on your page or in other ways.

Unlearn Everything You Know

Sometimes the starting point is to unlearn what you think you know about social media marketing. The problem is that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have created specific opportunities for businesses to participate. Depending on your goals and objectives, and your business, those channels may or may not be the best channels to reach your audience.

Start with a clean slate and ask yourself:

  1. What is my goal with social media marketing? What do I really want to achieve?
  2. What are different activities or behaviors on social media that could help me achieve it?
  3. How can I encourage this behavior?

Reality check: Start with the end in mind and ask yourself what activity is most likely to achieve your objectives.

Focus on Value-Added Activity, Not Following the Crowd

Since Facebook created pages for businesses, most businesses assume that they should create a Facebook page and promote it. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a page, but activity on a page isn't necessarily the best way to grow your business using Facebook.

Focus on the activity that best helps you achieve your business objectives, and build a plan around it.

If your business spreads through word of mouth, how can you get people to talk about you on Facebook (who cares if they talk on your page or not?)?

If your business is trying to drive awareness, how do you get in front of new people with a relevant message about your business? Maybe with a free trial?

If you want people sharing their experience with your business, how do you create experiences worth sharing and suggest social sharing in an appropriate way?

Reality check: Figure out what really works for your unique business and the relationship that people have with it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krista Neher

Krista Neher is the author of the bestselling Social Media Field Guide, an international speaker, and currently CEO of Boot Camp Digital, which is a leading provider of social media marketing training and consulting solutions. Krista is a social media pioneer, creating one of the first successful corporate Twitter strategies and corporate blogs - long before "social media" was even a recognized term. After spending nearly six years at Procter and Gamble working on some of the biggest and most successful product launches, Krista went on to become the vice president of marketing at an Internet start-up.

Krista started Boot Camp Digital in 2008 and has created training programs for hundreds of advertising agencies, marketing departments and small and medium business owners in social media marketing. Krista also works with a variety of educational institutions on their social media programs and is currently working on a textbook on social media marketing.

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