A lot of social media “experts” out there will tell you that every single organization on the globe should be participating in social media. They will point to the cool Facebook fan pages they’ve made or the funny videos their clients have on YouTube then say, “See, you can do this, too.”
They’re right. You can. The question is: Should you?
Whether to engage in social media marketing depends on whether it can...
- Save you money.
- Make you money.
If social media isn’t going to accomplish one of those two goals, then you have no business engaging in it. Why? Because participating in social media is expensive. I know everyone talks about how cheap it is … but they are not thinking like business owners. They’re thinking like people who only know how to open a YouTube channel account or sign you up on Twitter. Sure, creating an account on many of the social media tools and networks is free. But that’s where free ends.
To integrate social media into the rest of your marketing (which is an absolute if you want to consider social media a business tool), you need to use some resources. Social media requires care and feeding. It requires brand integration. And it requires a well-conceived strategy. All that costs time and money.
Don’t misunderstand. I believe in the power and reach of social media. (Most of our agency’s clients are using social media tools as part of their overall marketing strategy!) But I am not bullish on the belief du jour that everyone must do it and that it's free. Neither is true.
Here are 20 questions to ask yourself as you consider melding social media into your existing marketing strategy.
How Will Adding Social Media to Our Marketing Save Us Money?
- Will it allow us to stop doing something we’re currently doing?
- Will it allow us to extend or expand something we are currently doing?
- Will it lower our customer acquisition costs?
- Will it connect us to existing customers in an efficient way?
- Will we be able to use social media to create a community specifically for our customers?
- Will it be easier for our customers to rave about us or to create positive word of mouth?
- Do we look behind the times to our customers if we aren’t there?
- Will it introduce us to new potential customers at a low lead-generation cost?
- Will it make us more findable (either within the social network or on search engines)?
- Will it impact our search engine results (so we don’t have to buy results)?
How Will Melding Social Media to Our Marketing Strategy Make Us Money?
- Will it shorten our sales cycle?
- Will it create credibility and trust faster among prospects?
- Can we establish ourselves as the expert?
- Will it shorten customer service response time?
- Will it create a sense of accessibility for our customers?
- Will it increase trial of our product or service?
- Will it allow us to connect with more prospects at once?
- Will it increase repeat buying?
- Will it increase upsells?
- Can we collect or use testimonials?
If the answers to those questions indicates that social media would be a smart investment for your company to make, then you should be there. And now you will enter into it knowing about your return on that investment.
Now we’re talking smart marketing---not marketing hype.
Drew McLellan's a 25+ year marketing agency veteran who lives for creating "a ha" moments for his clients, clients' customers, peers and audiences across the land.
Drew writes at his own blog, Drew’s Marketing Minute and several other hot spots. He authored 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing, co-edited the Age of Conversation series of books with Gavin Heaton, and he launched his own firm McLellan Marketing Group in 1995.
LinkedIn: Drew McLellan