Only 2 Things Matter in Social Media Marketing for Business

by · August 21, 201325 comments

Social media can be confusing; it’s full of acronyms and strange symbols and it moves at a high speed. If social media isn’t your core business it can be tempting to put your faith in a practitioner with thousands of personal Facebook friends, Instagram and Twitter followers, who promises to somehow make it easy. However, advice from many consultants and social media “gurus” like myself has to be taken with grain of salt. There is no default rule of social media marketing and sometimes we have personal interests at play. Positioning social to be much more complex and scary than it actually is benefits us gurus/consultants. After all, how would you survive the online world without us?

We come up with complex charts, give them fancy names and create jargon like ‘dark social’ and ‘quantified self’ in part because it sounds cool, but also because it perplexes decision makers, which creates a need and gets our phones to ring! However, there are many who see hype and jargon as what it really is: hype and jargon. Without oversimplifying our industry, a social media marketing expert should be able to break it down and easily explain how to build your program, no matter how new or mature it is.

But it’s really simple

social_media_roi_questionsRecently I had the good fortune to present to two very distinct and talented audiences. The first was a room full of very accomplished journalists at the 47th Annual National Association of Real Estate Editors Journalism Conference. The second was online real state global leaders at the Property Portal Watch Conference. In both presentations, I stressed that people in the business of social tend to make things complex when at the end of the day, it really comes down to two things that matter (h/t Robert Scoble):

1. Are people talking about you? (“you” can be a person, a brand, a product, etc.)

2. Are those conversations leading to your desired outcome? (sales, traffic, page views or whatever your desired outcome is)

Many of the journalists I spoke to were focused on page views, shares and other similar metrics that their newsrooms expect from them. With the executives overseeing various portals, it was overall traffic and connecting people in the right part of the decision loop with their customers.

These days, many in my social stream are sharing their enthusiasm around the idea of “social business” or “social” enterprise software. I read hundreds of articles presenting various theories of how to dominate the online space and get pitches from dozens of services promising to amplify, quantify, or augment my company’s social messaging. However, I believe this is premature for many and is a convenient re-direct from the original question we’ve constantly being asked and the discussion we continue to have: delivering a real return on investment (ROI). If you haven’t delivered real ROI to yourself, or your company with your social efforts, how will enterprise software deliver ROI?

It’s not all smoke and mirrors

I’ve heard compelling presentations that show how internal social systems have brought down costs at organizations, but if you haven’t figured out the two things that matter above, getting your employees on Yammer or an internal white labeled version of Facebook is not going to do much for your bottom line.

Jason Falls, Liz Strauss and McKinsey & Company have inspired me over the past year to get back to the basics.  One of the things I admire about Jason is that his book “No Bullshit Social Media” encourages people to cut through the nonsense and focus on what social media works for in business. One slogan that my team and I have lived by since we heard Liz Strauss say it at Social Media Club LA last year is to “build your network before you need it.” A fan base isn’t just about the numbers; it’s about a real network of advocates who can often promote your brand better than you can.  McKinsey & Company did an excellent job in explaining social media to executives with Demystifying social media and I often refer to in presentations.

As social media marketers and consultants we must strive to give the best advice but that advice has to be tailored to the business and their business objectives. What do you want social media to do for you? If it doesn’t answer the two questions above, scare tactics, buzzword jargon and complex diagrams of the landscape aren’t going to help you in the long run.

Businesses and websites change; fundamentals do not. When I started in the business of social influence, long before Facebook was even a vague concept, we hit message boards and engaged in conversations that were already going on. Once we had shown interest and gained trust, then we could reach them with our messages.  The buzzwords and platforms change, but those two core questions do not.

What hype and jargon is driving you nuts these days? Who inspires you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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About Audie Chamberlain

Audie Chamberlain

Audie Chamberlain is an award-winning social media marketing executive with a highly successful track record in creating millions of fans who demonstrate loyalty, engagement and high profitability. He is the Director of Social Media Marketing for realtor.com (operated by Move, Inc.), a leader in real estate search and technology. He was named one of Inman News' 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders and led his team to win DigiDay's Social Media, Marketing and Advertising Award (SAMMY) for Best Socialized Business the past two years. He is a member of The Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) Social Media Committee and frequently speaks across the country to executives about leveraging social media marketing in their organizations.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://SeattleHome.com Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com

    Great article, right to the point, Audie. If it’s not converting sales or brand conversations, it’s not working.

    • http://www.realtor.com/blogs Audie Chamberlain

      I’ve heard Scoble call anything outside of this “social masturbation” and agree ;)

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    The most valuable point of this post, “Businesses and websites change; fundamentals do not.”

    • http://www.realtor.com/blogs Audie Chamberlain

      Thanks, Patrick. This idea came during a demo Twitter was giving me for their new keyword targeting product. I realized that fundamentally it was the same thing I was doing on message boards 13 years ago!

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  • http://www.inman.com/ Meg Herbert

    Love this Audie. Especially what a fan base really means… it’s definitely more than the numbers!

    • http://www.realtor.com/blogs Audie Chamberlain

      Thanks, Meg! People often forgot how vital fan bases are in social marketing and need to focus on more important factors than just “likes.”

  • Dara K

    I think what drives me nuts is having to adapt to new social media trends, but this is also what keeps social media interesting. What inspires me is the customers and the competition.

  • http://www.jumbocortex.com/think mkedave

    You can’t over nor under simplify the art and practice of developing relationships with the right people by way of building trust. We never buy things from people we don’t trust.

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    2 things I love about this article:

    1. It’s simple and easy to understand.
    2. It’s spot on.

    I like seeing articles that demystify social media, it’s what I try to do everyday. This is definitely shareable.

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    Rightly said but for that two things to work for you, one needs to do a lot of things. Proper planning is needed for the goal to be achieved.

  • Mandeep Singh

    Very true…to promote your listing on a bookmarking site..do visit Socialbukmarking.com

  • Dean

    Good post, thanks. I am aware of a lot of companies that are getting into social marketing for their businesses and doing just fine without any help. It’s not really complicated as some individuals/companies are trying to present it.

    Regards,

    Dean from http://iwantmoreclients.com/

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  • betterbizworks.com

    Good post. It amazes me how many people post with no real goal on what they are trying to accomplish. Thanks for your insight.

  • Chuck

    I have been using a site called KUNGPHOO.com which is a social marketing site that believe it or not is working for me.

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  • rajendra bhirud

    What a way to present social media marketing efforts! Being social media marketer it is always difficult to make stakeholder understand the impact and allied activities. It’s not all, I believe this will also helps to keep the social media marketing journey focussed. Beautifully presented.

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  • Guest

    Hi, I would like to highlight one more real estate portal which reach near 30K FB likes and hundreds of twitter followers on just two months life period site new:-www.realtycompass.com – i like it so much the way they are reaching huge audience.

  • mansur khan

    Hi, I would like to highlight one more real estate portal which reach near 30K FB likes and hundreds of twitter followers on just two months life period site:- http://www.realtycompass.com – i like it so much the way they are reaching huge audience.

  • Dale Song

    Thanks for the post Audie! Hope to hear from you again! Social Media is sick stuff no?