A fellow marketing professional stopped me in my tracks recently when he casually mentioned that he spends a lot of time these days talking clients out of social media.
After seeing my puzzled reaction, he quickly added that he understood just how important and effective it could be. However, his clients weren’t willing to put any real funding behind it. And when that’s the case, he felt no social media marketing was better than bad social media marketing.
The social channel is clearly one of the most effective new marketing tools to come along in recent history. As true believers, there’s the tendency to want everyone to jump on the bandwagon. But my friend makes a good point.
Devoting smart thinking, committing time, energy and, yes dollars, to a real program are required. Otherwise your efforts can be seen as an afterthought. In other words, you need to do more than slap a Facebook page together in order to build any kind of real, growing community. But is not doing anything really the best alternative?
There’s only so long that any brand can wait to develop a viable presence on social networks before they become notable for their absence. Of course, a half-baked, toe-in-the-water approach reflects poorly on any brand. There are only two reasons why that happens: The first is the aforementioned lack of financial support. The second is a lack of understanding about the category.
If you aren’t ready to dive into a professionally-executed social marketing program, you should at least invest the time and effort to become better educated.
Customized training for you and your team can help get your arms around social branding and answer the important questions: What are my competitors doing well here? What best practices are other brands using that can help my efforts? What kind of budget is needed for external development and internal support? How can I turn the fans who ‘like’ my brand into paying customers?
A small investment in solid training can help you develop a much better understand about why social marketing is as important as it truly is. And as that spreads through your organization, before you know it you’ll have a real budget and the opportunity to work with real pros as a result.
As a Russian proverb says: “There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out.”