Drinking the Social Media Kool-Aid
Today a meeting with a new client often takes a weird turn when the subject of social media comes up. We always talk about how brand strategy dictates all tactical media concerns; strategy comes first no matter the medium, outdoor, TV, PR, etc. And then our respected partner says, “What about social media? We need to get more likes.” Or, “Can we make a hashtag for Twitter?”
I’ve long felt that social media marketing is a scam perpetuated by social media sites like Facebook. And time is bearing out my intuition by this fact reported by Forrester Research:
“Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers. While the hype around social networks as a driver of influence in eCommerce continues to capture the attention of online executives, the truth is that social continues to struggle and registers as a barely negligible source of sales for either new or repeat buyers. In fact, fewer than 1% of transactions for both new and repeat shoppers could be traced back to trackable social links.”
One of my favorite expressions about social media is, “I don’t want to be friends with Tide.” I don’t want to see Tide in my feed at all, whether it is on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Linkedin. That includes native advertising and just plain advertising as well. However, I will be friends with Via Chicago, owned by my buddy and associate Kevin Reynolds. They have 600 likes but the real draw is the food and the location. Tactically, social media is on the bottom of the list for marketing. As it should be.
How to be a brand hero: Make sure you have a strategy for your brand first and then consider how social media fits in with your business model. No one size fits all.