Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Truth About Using Social Media for Marketing

I don't know how many times I've seen weight-loss commercials that don't require you to do any exercise or to eat less. "Just buy this product or system and BAM! your weight will melt off like magic." These programs must be successfully hooking people for a reason. And I think that reason is we really don't want to do the hard work it would require to get the weight off. We want the easiest way out.

The problem is that the easiest way, may not be what it appears. Even in these weight-loss commercials they strategically don't mention what you will have to do — namely diet and exercise, along with this great program. (And "…results will vary" in small type.) But people still buy into this, because the promise is so tempting.

This is no different with businesses and organizations. The appeal of the web, email, and social media is that they hold the promise of great marketing return for little investment. But it ain't so. First of all, if electronic media isn't part of an overall strategy it is just a time- and money-waster. Second, it takes effort to create good campaigns using this media. And last, no one will see or care unless you draw people to it using other means.

Seeing the web, email, or social media as the solution to a marketing problem can lead to disjointed efforts. And it seldom generates or persuades. It just announces or sets a tone. It is a poor medium to do the persuading on its own, unless other factors are built into the process.

Businesses and organizations that tend to be successful using the web, email, and social media tend to understand that these tools are part of an overall strategy. Each medium has a role at each stage of the marketing process.

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