There are a lot of social media “experts” out there who will tell you that every single organization on the globe should be participating in social media. They will point to the cool Facebook fan pages they’ve made or the funny videos their clients have on YouTube and say “see, you can do this too.” And they’re right. You can.
The question is: Should you?
The real answer to that question is “it depends.” It depends on whether or not it can do one of two things.
- Save you money
- Make you money
If it isn’t going to accomplish one of those two goals, then you have no business engaging in it. Why?
Participating in social media is expensive. I know everyone talks about how cheap it is…but that’s because they are not thinking like a business owner. They’re thinking like someone who knows how to open a YouTube channel account or sign you up on Twitter. It’s true, creating an account on many of the tools and networks is free. But that’s where free ends.
To integrate social media into the rest of your marketing, which is an absolute if you want to consider it a business tool, you are going to have to expend some resources. Social media requires care and feeding. It requires brand integration. And it requires a well-conceived strategy. All of those are going to cost time and money.
Don’t misunderstand. I believe in the power and reach of social media and most of our agency’s clients are using social media tools as part of their overall marketing strategy, but I am not bullish on the belief du jour that everyone must do it and it’s free. Neither is true.
Here are twenty questions to ask yourself as you consider melding social media into your existing marketing strategy.
How will it save us money?
- Will it allow us to stop doing something we’re currently doing?
- Will it allow us to extend/expand something we are currently doing?
- Will it lower our customer acquisition costs?
- Will it connect us to existing customers in an efficient way?
- Will we be able to use social media to create a community specifically for our customers?
- Will it be easier for our customers to rave about us/create positive word of mouth?
- Do we look behind the times to our customers if we aren’t there?
- Will it introduce us to new potential customers at a low lead generation cost?
- Will it make us more findable (either within the social network or on search engines)?
- Will it impact our search engine results? (so we don’t have to buy results)
How will it make us money?
- Will it shorten our sales cycle?
- Will it create credibility/trust faster among prospects?
- Can we establish ourselves as the expert?
- Will it shorten customer service response time?
- Will it create a sense of accessibility for our customers?
- Will it increase trial of our product/service?
- Will it allow us to connect with more prospects at once?
- Will it increase repeat buying?
- Will it increase up sells?
- Can we collect/use testimonials?
If the answers to those questions indicates that social media would be a smart investment for your company to make, then you should be there. But now you will enter into it knowing that there’s a return for that investment.
Now we’re talking smart marketing, not marketing hype.