The Uncomfortable Truth about Social Media Marketing

The Uncomfortable Truth about Social Media Marketing

By Chad PollittJun 8 /2011

It’s very clear that social media alone is not “the magic pill” for businesses wanting to aggressively acquire new customers, clients and leads.  Social media marketing by itself with no other marketing integration will probably fizzle out over time for lacking consistent predictable results.  This is not a post lambasting social media, but rather a post to identify what social media really is at its core and how to best utilize it in an integrated inbound campaign.

Social Media Marketing TruthSocial media at its core is a distribution channel for content which allows people to have conversations around and share content.  It’s no different than FedEx rolling their trucks full of packages down neighborhood streets and delivering them to specific houses.  The roads are social media, the packages are content and the houses are people.  What’s important to realize is that the type and quality of content in the packages delivered by FedEx is responsible for the level of excitement the recipient has.  This excitement level determines whether or not someone converts or is compelled to take action.  Now take that analogy and add a virtual water cooler to it for people to talk about and share the contents of their packages and their excitement.

The key words in the above analogy are “content” and “excitement.” Excitement over content is analogous to having quality problem-solving and/or entertaining content which is compelling.  Ever hear “content is king?” Social media marketing which lacks a true content marketing and conversion strategy is nothing more than conversation and relationship building.  There’s nothing wrong with conversation and relationship building, but in order to develop relevant, consistent and predictable metrics which report on tangible results it’s not enough.  As a rule of thumb, Twitter Marketing for Dummies author, Kyle Lacy, recommends keeping this type of activity to one third of a Twitter campaign.

Three Types of Social Media Content

  • Self-produced
  • Other People's
  • Conversational

A good integrated social media campaign should have two additional content marketing strategies in order to cover the other two thirds of the above rule of thumb – producing (or paying/inviting someone to produce) original content and sharing other people’s content.  Sharing other people’s content is important to do because it allows the marketer to associate their brand with others while building relationships with the brands whose content is shared. The goal is to have other influential brands reciprocate and share too.

What are some examples of original content?

  • Blog posts
  • Sweepstakes & Contests
  • Coupons
  • Videos
  • Audio
  • Pictures/Graphics
  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies
  • Webinars
  • Guides
  • Ebooks
  • Anything which solves a problem and/or entertains that is self-produced

High quality content which is originally produced and distributed via social media channels provides the best chance to capture leads, gain new customers, and grow revenue in a social media marketing campaign because it can be scaled, tracked, tested and measured in a robust fashion.  Because of this, consistent content publishing and distribution via social media will maximize the ability to measure and predict results.  High Klout scores are nice to have, but the metric is not a predictor of revenue for people or brands.  Social media conversations and sharing other people's content alone does not equal predictable and testable metrics or monetization.

However, originally produced content which is distributed via social media and converts consumers does provide predictable and testable metrics.  In order to produce original content and convert consumers of that content other web platforms are required.  Some of these platforms could include a website, microsite, blog, or landing page.  Integrating a social media campaign with robust content marketing, conversion strategies and multiple web platforms is called inbound marketing and is required to make social media drive consistent, predictable and measurable results.

Image Credit:  kxlly