Heather is passionate about helping companies deliver marketing that is hyper-relevant to the customer and drives profit for the business. As an experienced strategist with 20 years developing integrated marketing strategies across a range of industries, she advocates a data-driven approach to marketing.

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Why Most Businesses Fail With Social Media

failballAt this point in history anyone questioning whether or not social media was a passing fad has their answer: this stuff isn’t going away.  Use of social media continues to grow exponentially and businesses are scrambling to get on board. What’s interesting to me, however, is that so many businesses continue to struggle with the basic rules of ‘engagement’ when it comes to social media interactions.

Why Aren’t Most Businesses Succeeding in Social Media?

Are they struggling because they don’t get the technology?
I don’t think that’s the problem – setting up a Facebook page for your business isn’t difficult.

Are they struggling because they don’t understand their customers?
Nope, I think most businesses understand who is buying their product.

Are they struggling because they’ve never marketed this way before?
No, businesses have marketed this way for years; it just went by a different name.

And that’s just it! Social media isn’t a new way of marketing, it’s relationship marketing.  It’s about providing something of value to the other party in the relationship; not treating social media platforms like enormous billboards.

Where’s The Value?

For businesses, success in social media means consistently providing value to your customers or prospective customers, whether that value be content, insider tips or access to purchasing opportunities that aren’t available to other customers.  This value can be entertainment, customer service or even just an inside look at how the business runs.

Let’s face it: no one wants to follow a business that is just going to advertise or promote to them all the time.  Think about it – we PVR TV shows so we can skip through the ads, we have filters that block pop-up ads while we’re surfing the net, we routinely put stickers on our mailbox that specify ‘No JUNK mail’.  So, the idea that people want to be “friends” with their favorite brand of bran cereal or their utility company so that they can be marketed to is ridiculous.

Every business has a story to tell.  Every business can create, find, share and comment on engaging content.  I suspect that the reason that most businesses aren’t doing a good job is because they aren’t willing to put in the work to create campaigns that are unique and engaging – that offer value to their audience.

Old School Principals, New School Platform

When you read about the latest social media success story what you’re more than likely reading about is a company that decided to invest the time and energy into a great marketing campaign.

Great marketing takes work. Social media is simply another tool in the marketing toolkit; not a shortcut to marketing success.  The companies that are successful in social media have invested the time into creating engaged communities and are consistent in their interactions with their audience.

The Social Media Litmus Test

Here are some tough questions that need to be asked when evaluating your social media campaigns:

  • Are our interactions frequent and consistent?
  • Are we sharing, or telling?
  • Are we engaging, or selling?
  • Are we speaking our customers’ language?
  • How does this campaign stand out from those of our competitors?
  • Do our interactions provide value to our audience?

Considering the above will help you to break through the filters and create social media campaigns that really work instead of blending into the constant noise social media users have trained themselves to ignore.