A) Don’t trust a single article about marketing in a bad economy, unless the writer has concrete proof. and B) If someone writes an article about marketing in a bad economy using social media- read it and then run the other way.
Puff pieces notwithstanding. Unless the person is making up the rules as they muddle through these ridiculously bad economic times, there is no template on how to use social media marketing correctly to market a business, product or otherwise, right now.
Why, you might ask? Because social media has not been around long enough. Sure there are case studies and examples of how companies and corporations are using social media right now to extend their product and brand, but that was then-this is now. We are in the motherfuckin moment. Excuse my language but… THESE ARE NOT NORMAL TIMES!. So anything that you knew or know about how to use social media and marketing to drive traffic and eyeballs and users and adopters to your site/product, all of it, is not as it seems.
The Rules are changing before your eyes. So I don’t want to see anymore of the “How to use social media marketing in a bad economy” blog posts or articles or stories yet. YOU DON’T KNOW HOW YET. You cannot sit here and tell me that the mindset of the online user and consumer is the same now as it was last year at this time. I dare someone to say that it is. And if you’re pitching to companies and business’s in that vein, that’s bullshit, shame on you.
I do know that they are starved for answers and solutions and business- And SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING MIGHT BE A VIABLE SOLUTION, I’m just not sure that social media and social media marketing don’t need to be tweaked and morphed and melded into something that is creatively different right now. Just don’t promise social media as the cure-all for what is ailing businesses right now. But you can still pitch it.
We all need to figure it out (and we are) as we go. Please let’s document what we do, how we did it, what worked, and what didn’t. Then we can write all the posts we want on how to market and use social media in bad economy. Hopefully though, we won’t need to refer to them anytime soon in the not too distant future.
Your style is a bit rough – but it is real and it will cause people to dig and look for real value in the things they are learning and the things they have to say. I admit, I didn’t like you very much at the beginning, but it sure made me go beyond the surface of things and work a bit harder – and that = a positive impact; at least in this individual. Keep up the great work.
Marc, your post hits right between the eyes. I’m on a quest right now to prove that SMM can work in bad times as well as good. Heck, I’m on a quest to prove SMM can work at all. I believe it can and does. I’ve sent it in my own experience.
Having made that statement, let me cite some possible ways by which it can work:
1. SEO value – Blogs, for example, are their own form of SEO. While I don’t disparage the use of traditional SEO (and the subsequent expense involved), it costs very little to produce blog content.
2. Low cost – Much of what constitutes social media is free to use. While I recognize some of the social network technology providers will charge a company a king’s ransom to use their platform, aside from the investment of time (and, yes, time is money), social media can be a cheap date. Consider Dell’s involvement with Twitter as a case in point.
3. Content, content and more content – This ties to point #1, but content marketing is valuable for SEO and other reasons and social media is a way to produce lots of it. Plus, it gives your company two things traditional marketing and advertising cannot (or not as well, at least not without deep pocketbooks), ubiquity and personality.
4. WOM – What better way to put word of mouth on steriods than with the tools of social media. It exponentiates the viral capacity of a message to spread. That’s got to be worth something.
5. Niche marketing – Dr. Ralph Wilson said that success in marketing these days is about penetrating unfilled or partially-filled niches. The tools of social media are great for that.
While true blue died in the wool marketers will seek to formulate the ROI of social media, I tend to take a more intuitive approach, for good or ill. My forumla (and philosophy) is this: You can use conversational media to turn strangers into friends and friends into customers. Seth Godin said something like that years ago. Strangers > Connections > Conversations > Friends > Customers.
It probably wouldn’t play in a board room or with the CMO, but it worked pretty well in the small town where I grew up. And the web is now a massive collection of small towns (niches). I don’t see why it can’t work here as well. But, having said that, the proof is indeed in the pudding.