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Following the Social Media wave

January 27th, 2010

Peter Kim wrote a fantastic article on the dangers of following the latest Social Media trends without understanding what you’re doing. The article is called ‘The Marketer’s New Clothes‘ and it highlights what I’ve seen happen a few times.

Four things strike me as lessons from the article:

1. Make sure you know what you’re getting into:
If you don’t ‘get’ digital media, no worries. Do your research (starting here, of course). Go to industry networking events. Find other marketers that have run digital campaigns. Learn from their successes and their failures. Stand on the shoulders of giants.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t just get your information from an agency or a ‘Digital Strategist’ that has a vested interest in getting you to buy what he’s selling. If you are talking to an agency, don’t let them baffle you with jargon or make you feel stupid for not understanding. Remember what my motto:  ‘If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old…

2. Question everything:
Don’t let the latest trends get in the way of a proper strategy. Whatever shiny new thing is being developed for you, ask how it is going to contribute to your bottom line. What measurements are going to be used? What’s the baseline? How are you going to measure the ROI? Again, if your agency or your strategist can’t answer these questions off the top of their heads, you may want to start asking even more questions. That should be considered a huge red flag.

3. Beware the herd mentality:
Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should. You have to know who your audience is, where they live online (if they even do) and what they are looking for. It has to be relevant. But even more important, beware the herd mentality inside your organization. I’ve been in the situation where the CEO of the company walked into my office and told me that we need to be on Facebook! Every other major company is on Facebook, why aren’t we?

(Sidenote: When the CEO walks into your office and says we need to do ‘X” right away, do not say ‘NO’, unless you want me to introduce you to a couple of fine recruiters I know. Figure out a way to do it, put together the plan on how to do it right and the cost/benefit. When you’re discussing the plan, try to find the opportunity to inject your thoughts on the feasibility for the company if the cost/benefit isn’t there, along with alternatives to achieve a similar end result).

4. It’s ALL ABOUT the ROI:
At the end of the day, we’re all in this for one thing. Money. Yes, I’m sorry to break it to you, but every company is out to make money. And if any activity you do doesn’t contribute to the bottom line, chances are that you won’t be doing it for long. So if you’re getting into digital media, make sure you know how you’re going to prove to the higher powers that the $100,000 you’re spending are going to make or save the company $100,001 very soon. And the person or group putting your digital media strategy into action had better have the answer for you as well.

Categories: social-media, Strategy
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