Social media is crap. Social media is a waste of money and time. Social media can’t be measured so we’re just wasting energy. Social media doesn’t offer lead generation. Blah blah blah.
I’ve seen a ton of criticism about social media and what it can and can’t do. People and companies are quick to jump in and castrate those of us using the medium as charlatans and maggots. Generally the excuse is any one of the reasons above, amongst others.
Most times the biggest complaint is that “social media isn’t working for us”, and because of that, social media is automatically a crap shoot.
But maybe those doing the loudest complaining should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask why it’s not working. Because I’m pretty sure that it’s not because of the reasons given at the start of this post, but a far simpler one – your social media strategy sucks.
And here’s why.
Blogs and Books Are Your Education
You read a ton of blogs. You follow all the big names and hang on their every word, gleaning nuggets of wisdom and tips and real-life examples of companies that “did social media right”. Then you take these posts and use them for your business, or product, or team.
And then get all upset because the advice in A-List Blogger’s latest masterpiece didn’t work for you. But are you really surprised?
A blog post isn’t a strategy. A blog post isn’t a campaign measurement stick. A blog post isn’t a research and development program. A blog post is just a drop of water in a bigger pool of ideas that bring a strategy to life.
A blog post isn’t specifically written for you, either – it’s a generic cover-all that can apply to thousands of other readers, some of whom will be your competitors. So why would you replace specific with generic?
As for these never-ending social media books that are hitting the marketplace at the rate of what seems like one a week? Many are just regurgitated blog posts with a new introduction anyway, so all you’re doing is doubling your chance of failure.
Forget generic – start thinking specific.
It’s Not Strategy If There’s No End Goal
What’s your end goal with your social media activity? What are you looking to get out of it?
Brand awareness? More eyeballs on your company blog? Sales? Customer service satisfaction levels up? Head hunt new employees? None of the above?
If you’re going into social media without an end goal in mind, why are you even going in? Where’s the benefit? Is it because your competitor is doing the Twitter and they look like they’re having fun and getting people talking to them?
Great – but what’s being said between your competitor and these people? Is there an end goal there? Is it simply building relations on another platform, much like having open days at your workplace and inviting the public in?
Whatever it is, if you’re not getting any results it’s because you haven’t set any results up to be met.
- Ask how many connected conversations it’s going to take to turn into one sale.
- Ask how many products you’ll have to give away via a blogger outreach program to raise awareness, positive sentiment and actionable intent on your audience’s behalf.
- Ask how many people you’ll need to man the social phones and react to hundreds if not thousands of questions being thrown at you.
- Ask what your cut-off date is and what happens next – cut and run or adapt and conquer?
Every single thing we do in life has an end goal. The difference with life is that our very end goal we have no choice in. But in business, you do. Set your end goals out and work strategically toward them.
You Don’t Believe
You’ve used print and radio ads for longer than you can remember. They must be working, because you’re still in business. Besides, everyone reads newspapers or listens to the radio – you have a guaranteed audience. Can the same be said of social media?
Well, yes, it can, with targeted audience marketing. But let’s forget that for now, because you don’t believe you can target success in social media. You don’t believe you can bring in sales with social media, or improve your business practices, or customer satisfaction level, even though there are plenty of examples of these and more.
Simply put, you don’t believe in social media. And as that wise little guy Yoda once said, that is why you fail.
Sure, you’re tweeting. Yes, you’re Facebooking. Yes, you’re Linking In. But your heart’s not in it. You’re not in it. You’re only here because others said you should be.
But you know, maybe you don’t need to be – social media isn’t for everyone. It is for everyone’s customers, but then there’s a whole other approach you can take for that.
So stop wasting your time. If you don’t believe in something, are you really going to put your heart in it? No. Plain and simple.
Believe or leave.
It Doesn’t Need to Be This Way
I could run a ton of other reasons off why your social media strategy sucks, but I think you get the gist. Some of it might be you, the complainer’s fault; some of it might be your boss and his or her whip cracking on you.
But it’s not a lost cause. It doesn’t need to be this way.
Everything can be turned around; all courses can be plotted again and new directions taken when an obstacle or turbulence kicks in. Just because you think it sucks now doesn’t mean it can’t suck a whole lot less in a fairly short amount of time.
- Stop acting on what works for others and build for what works for you.
- Take advice with a grain of salt and ask if that great post is really talking to you, or just talking (albeit greatly).
- Write your own books. They don’t need to be physical – successful campaigns are books, just in a different format.
- Think with the endgame in mind, or don’t play the game, period.
Bad strategy sucks, not social media. But then isn’t that true for everything?