My Dinner with Andre: Explaining the Value of Social Marketing
Have you ever found yourself defending the use of social marketing to your friends? This past weekend I had a couple of friends over for dinner and after we were done we started talking about our jobs. As usual the conversation progressed in the same way it does every time I am with friends talking about work and having a few adult beverages. They ask me how my job is going; I tell them it is great. After that people usually fall into two different camps, the one camp that loves and understand digital marketing and the other that just doesn’t get it, or flat out doesn’t like it. Well this weekend I was sitting there with two friends from the latter group. Not only do they think of the word spam once you say email marketing, they don’t see any value in social marketing whatsoever. So after I tell them about some of the projects I have been working on they immediately start into a speech about how social media is just a craze and there is no real business value.
As they start their speech I can almost recite it word for word. I have never been on FaceBook or Twitter but I just don’t understand how it can be used for business. As far as they are concerned all social networking sites are for, is to let people know what you are doing at any point in time of your day. While there is some truth to that fact, there is so much more to be these sites that businesses can truly gain value from.
I thought it would be fun today to go through some of their arguments, as well as my rebuttals so that I could then get your opinions on who is right and who is wrong.
Argument #1: “I have never been on Twitter, someone in my company created an account for me when I was at a tradeshow but I have never logged on. That person tweeted for me 2 times over a year ago and now somehow I have over 500 followers.”
- Rebuttal #1: First and foremost, those numbers seem a bit inflated. (After checking the next day the real number was only 98 but he was also somehow following 91 people himself) Secondly, it doesn’t matter what marketing avenue you look at, there are going to be some people that are not the target you are trying to reach. When it comes to social media, these are usually the people that sign up to follow you on Twitter just to get your to sign up and follow them, then they un-follow you because they think it makes them look more important.
- Rebuttal #2: Maybe it is a situation where many of these people were doing a search for people like you, in your industry and they found you. Or maybe these people have met you previously and decided that you’re someone that has a lot of knowledge and they are interested in hearing your thoughts.
Argument #2: “I don’t have time for it—I have a day job you know.”
- Rebuttal: Trust me I was the first person that thought they didn’t have time for one more thing on my plate each day. The problem is that just because you don’t think you have time in your day doesn’t mean that is true. If you think about all the 5 minutes “time-wasters” you have in your day, you could be using that time to productively engage in social media in some form or fashion. A couple of months ago I wrote an article about how effectively using Social Media Marketing for just 10 minutes a day can pay off.
Argument #3: “People don’t care what I am doing every minute of the day—and I don’t care what everyone else is doing every minute of the day for that matter”
- Rebuttal: This is one that I always find interesting because it is the media and the high profile celebrities that give Twitter this reputation. I remember watching an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” and one of the characters Sheldon asked—“doesn’t he look at twitter—he should know that I am in the bathroom every morning at 8am”. This is exactly why people think that that is all people and businesses do on Twitter and FaceBook, simple streams of consciousness. However, this if far from the truth. As a professional tool, I have been able to gain a lot of knowledge through the use of these social media sites, be it from reading articles I would have never been exposed to in any other way, or getting questions answered by a range of people I might not have encountered before.
Argument #4: “Social Networks are for kids to play around on—I don’t see any value in them for my professional life”
- Rebuttal #1: The first thing I ask whenever someone gives me this response is—“Are you on LinkedIn?” Almost always they say yes. So, I then ask them if they think that is a social network, this is usually where the backpedalling and stuttering begins.
- Rebuttal #2: Industry and trade organizations have been around as long as most of us can remember. Many times these same folks are members of these organizations—but aren’t most people members of these organizations to network with others in the same industry and understand the latest trends, a lot of the same things you can get through social networking sites.
After a number of back and forth’s with my friends this past weekend I finally was able to help them understand that there is a lot of value in social media, the problem is that you can’t just go into it without a plan. Too often people try to go after the latest thing with no plan and they start to spin in circles because they aren’t able to get anything truly valuable accomplished but, if they would be willing to sit back and do some planning on the front end, they would see a lot of value on the back end.
Takeaway: Understanding the value of social marketing is important! Don’t judge Social media until you try it!
About the Author:
Spencer Kollas is the director of Delivery Services for StrongMail Systems. In this role, Spencer is responsible for defining and implementing cutting-edge service programs to help StrongMail’s customers continue to maximize their email deliverability rates. Spencer actively works with clients directly to optimize their marketing programs. Prior to StrongMail Spencer was the Director of Deliverability at Premiere Global Services, where he had the opportunity to work with Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 organizations structuring a variety of custom email education programs, conceptualizing and implementing new and innovative email programs, optimizing contact strategies, and effectively increasing his clients delivery rates and overall ROI. Spencer is an active member in several industry organizations, including the Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC), Messaging Anti-Abuse Work Group (MAAWG), Email Experience Council (EEC) and the Anti-Phishing Work Group (APWG).