I have thought for some time that the impending social media bubble will at some point burst. I am a true believer that digital marketing done right will drive sales, however folks can get sidetracked pretty fast. That, coupled with many marketers delusional perception of success, and things can get pretty murky.
One must have a keen understanding of why the business is marketing in the first place, to sell more stuff. That’s it. Most of the other yap you are doing is fluff puff marketing and both it and you could go away and no one would notice … except the person who’s job it is to do the tasks that might get eliminated.
Employees and agencies hold on ever so dearly to those tasks, and work diligently to prove their value. That became evidently clear in the over one hundred comments of Facebook Is Overrated For Businesses. (It really is, by the way.)
The ROI meter for the folks writing the checks to fund your marketing should only be interested in things that move the prospect into and down the sales funnel. I have a standard question that I ask our clients. For one such, a furniture chain, it’s “Are you selling more couches?” For our apartment clients, it’s, “Are you renting more apartments?”
If the answer is yes, then all is well and we continue doing what we are doing. If the answer is no, we change direction, swiftly. If your clients are selling more stuff, you or your agency will rarely will get fired. The point here is to ask the question and not be afraid of the answer.
What we don’t do is look for things we are doing to “prove” our value to the owner. Hey, some of those things do have value, but if sales drop or dip we all need to become much more nibble and fix things faster.
Erica Napoletano penned a post just after the first of the year titled, I Hope You Are Looking For a New Job. The post compared the real estate bubble to a predicted social media bubble.
So, if you’re a “social media consultant,” I hope you’re looking for a new job. Because the bottom is about to fall out of your market. Just like real estate, social media isn’t going anywhere. But if you’re deluding yourself and your clients into thinking that you’ve got what they need, you’re no different than the hairdressers-turned-Realtor-turned-hairdressers of the Las Vegas real estate boom.
You’re hawking overpriced real estate to anyone who can make the down payment.
Social media is a component of a comprehensive marketing strategy, not a stand-alone panacea. There are no unicorns that fart glitter or fluffy pillows. Social media campaigns aren’t islands unto themselves and boats don’t race to moor on their docks. If you’re one of those laptop-and-a-lunch hucksters, I certainly hope you’re gearing up to acquire some expanded job skills, as it’s becoming damn clear that what you’re selling isn’t going to have a market for long.
Perhaps a bit harsh, however it gets to the point. Part of the problem is that the social media echo chamber has become a support system for every “like minded” marketer telling you how good you are. Ask the client: Nothing else matters. The same sort of nonsense occurs with employees who constantly get distracted on what the true goals and strategies are.
So, get your marketing compass out and ask your client or your boss if they are selling more stuff due to your marketing efforts. The answer will make your direction much more clear.