I like the irreverent way Peter Shankman writes about why he would never hire a “social media expert”. More than that, I especially agree with him about how important it is to properly understand what Social Media is about and what it isn’t about. For starters, Social Media isn’t about doing marketing “for free”, nor is it about “being cool” since everyone is jumping on to the bandwagon to the next frontier. It is, in my opinion, about these 4 things:
- It’s about transparency. It’s not about lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now—it doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past. Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye. Instead, it’s about using the tools to market to an audience that wants to help tell your story, because you’ve been awesome at providing them with the service they deserve.
- It’s about relevance. It’s not about tweeting every single time your company offers 10 percent off on a thingamabob. It’s about finding out where your customers actually are, and going after them there. If you’re tweeting all your discounts, and none of your customers are on Twitter, then you sir, are an idiot. Marketing involves knowing your audience, and tailoring your promotions in specific bursts to the correct segments.
- It’s about brevity. Guess what, if we have about three seconds to get our message across to a new customer, you know what’s going to do it? Not Twitter followers. Not Facebook fans. Not Foursquare check-ins—no. What’s going to do it is good writing, end of story. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing.
- It’s about knowing your customer. Finally, it’s about knowing your customer, and making sure your customer thinks of you first. Do you know your audience? Have you reached out to them? I’m not talking about “tweeting at them,” I’m talking about actually reaching out; asking them what you can do better, or asking those who haven’t been around in a while what you can do to get them back. It’s not about 10 percent off coupons or “contests for the next follower.”
The crux for me is this:
Social media is not “cool.” Making money is cool. Social media is simply another arrow in the quiver of marketing, and that quiver is designed to generate revenue.
Anything else and I would think that you have lost the plot.