1. Inbound is Not Enough
There is a lot of hype about “inbound marketing”. In case you missed the memo, the major component of Inbound Marketing is developing content. And it works, there is no doubt about that but just posting content on a blog, social site or YouTube is not enough. You have to have an Audience; having avid Listeners and Followers is even better. For more on “Audience” have a look at my post on LinkedIn.
An Audience is critical but you also have to have a way to communicate with them. Let’s review a few of the historical ways for communicating with your Audience.
a) Email and eNewsletters is one way but the open and read rates are often low. Important? Yes, but limited because you need an email address and spamming is no longer acceptable. In Canada, spamming is illegal.
b) Relying on Organic and Paid Search is a good option but these only reach people who are actively looking. Powerful? Yes, but limited.
c) Banner advertising is great for improving brand awareness. Effective? Yes, but you need millions of impressions and impressions aren't cheap. With many of our clients we recommend using Display ads on Google AdWords. They work especially if you activate the Remarketing feature that shows your ad repeatedly to people who have showed some interest by visiting your website in the past. But buying impressions for banner ads is expensive and spending “just a little” is a waste of your investment. With banner advertising, it is either go big or don't bother.
2. Marketing is Difficult
To some people marketing seems easy. They would say: Segment your market into target groups, create your message, pick a marketing channel, invest, and the leads or sales will start rolling in.
But it isn't that simple and here are a few reasons why not:
Michael Brenner, Senior Director of Global Marketing at SAP, is quoted in a document by Marketo as saying,
“Marketing today is difficult. There are 200 million people on the U.S. ‘Do Not Call’ list. Over 86% of TV viewers admit to skipping commercials. Forty-four percent of direct marketing is never opened. Roughly 99.9% of online banners are never clicked. Buyers wait until they have completed 60-80% of their research before reaching out to vendors”.
If this is the case, then as marketers we could be in trouble. What we need are new and better ways to reach out to our Audience and let them know about the valuable products and services we have to offer. Using social media is one of the “new and better ways”.
3. Measuring ROI
When it comes to measuring ROI (or my preferred metric: ROMI) investing in social media is excellent. You know who your Audience is. You know the number of Impressions, Reach, Followers, and your rate of engagement. These are excellent ways to measure the performance of your campaigns. But lots of people tell me that the numbers suck.
The three concerns that we hear from our prospects (before we start working with them) are:
a) We don't have enough Followers,
b) Our followers aren't engaging with our updates (posts, tweets, videos, pins, etc.) and
c) We never get leads from social media.
To be honest, the fix for all three issues is simple: Better content! Updates in the form of posts, images and videos have to be unique, funny, interesting, engaging, and valuable. If the number of people following you on all your social media platforms is low, it is because no one cares. Simply put: your updates aren't worth sharing. If your Audience isn't engaging with your updates that is because the content isn't worth commenting on.
It is that simple. Well almost that simple. You do have to spend a bit on advertising on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Each of these platforms will show your updates to a wider audience if you pay for it. But not as much as you think. Your investment to boost posts and tweets should be 4 digits or less per month. That is reasonable: live and marketing aren't free. In contrast, the cost for banner advertising is at minimum, 5 or 6 digits per month.
4. Social Media is Fun
Sure writing a blog post takes effort. This post took me all afternoon. But every time I do research for an article, I learn. Everything I learn has value. Posting on Facebook is a blast. I love the Likes, Comments and Shares that I get. Tweeting is a hoot. I love the RT, favs, mentions, and DMs. I haven't dipped my toe into YouTube waters but I will, soon.
Social media was overwhelming when I started 5 years ago. I was getting messages from every platform, stream, hashtag and follower; friends and spammers both. At the time I was using TweetDeck and HootSuite. I considered getting a third screen but I wasn't getting any work done. So I dropped both programs. Now I’m using BufferApp and that has made my life much more manageable when it comes to posting interesting and valuable articles that I read.
I still log into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest but I don't mind. I login, make a few comments, and I’m out. Short and sweet. But I do that a few times a day - every day.
5. Social Media is Effective
Of course, the keys to measuring effectiveness are having the right expectations and knowing how to measure. One status update on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn isn't going to generate a sale the next day. Life isn't like that. Marketing isn't like that. As I mentioned earlier, marketing is hard work. It takes effort. It takes thinking and creativity.
As soon as someone tells me that social media isn't working I look at their Facebook page. Inevitably they have less than 500 Likes. On Twitter, if they even have an account, they will have less than 500 Followers. On LinkedIn they will have less than 500 Connections. And if they have an account on YouTube the will have less than 500 views total.
How can you sell anything to an audience that is under 500 people? That isn't an audience, that’s a tiny village. You can’t sell very much to people in a village. Sure a couple people will buy a thing or two but that is all. Your audience needs to be the size of a city or a whole bunch of towns and villages. You might have to be a “traveling salesman” and interact with multitudes of people; frequently. It is possible, but it requires effort.
Just because it is easy to create a page on Facebook and post a status update doesn’t mean that doing so will be effective. Marketing requires planning, time, resources, creativity, passion, energy, uniqueness, and focus.
Sure digital marketing is easy to measure. Maybe that is why people are finding out that what they are doing isn't working. The golden olden days of creating an advertisement and blasting it out on mass media channels are gone. Now-a-days companies have to be strategic, unique, and integrated. Marketers have to think; think ahead, think behind and think sideways.
Let me end this article by talking about Ashton Kutcher and his website www.aplus.com. It is likely that you haven't heard about it, yet. That’s understandable; it was just launched last year. But it is huge. Look at this graph from SimilarWeb:
• It ranks as the 2,377th most visited website, globally
• It receives 21.7 million Visits per month
• And, get this, Social is driving 80% of the Visits
As I said, social media works. You just have to have the right content and the right connections.
Give us a call (587-317-0805) if you want to be effective on social media. We will start with an audit. Then create your strategy. And finally, we will work with you to develop content that is unique, interesting and valuable.