Six Reasons Social Marketing is at Risk

Meeting customers & executives expectations to win

by Tracey Parsons |

So, Facebook turned 10 this past February. Ten! That’s double digits, big boy age. Facebook can walk to the store to buy candy by itself now. Ten is a big milestone. For a lot less than 10 years, marketers have been working to figure out just how to use social to attract and retain customers. And, in all honesty, we’re getting better at it. But, even as we polish our skills in social marketing, we marketers need to realize that our approach and the current climate is putting social marketing at risk.

Social-Media-RiskThe audience is onto us

If we don’t start by admitting that the audience is aware of our motivations and that we are in fact subsidizing the social media platforms, we will continue to spiral downward. We must recognize that our fans are not dumb. They know when we are selling. People do not like to be sold to, unless you are Lego and then you can make millions on a long-form ad. (Well played, Lego!) That being said, it is ok to ask for the sale, just don’t do it ALL the time.

We’re still talking to them, not with them

We are still monolog driven. Despite response models and community managers, we are still talking at them. If we want to get the amplification we desire from social, we must start communicating with our fans. It isn’t a simple poll or question post. That doesn’t do it, we need to invite them in with our content. We need to create new ways for people to interact with the brand. Remember, a huge percentage of people on Facebook are lurkers.

We’re not connecting

Social media evokes emotions. The stories that generate the most interest are either emotionally powerful or really funny. We are not effectively doing either of these things. We do not make them laugh or emotionally connect with them because we are busy selling. Because we lack this resonance, they are not reading our content and skipping over us. And being ignored is a marketers worst nightmare. So, stop selling and start trying to find smart ways to infuse personality, emotion or humor into your brand. Key word there: “smart”. Make sure it fits the brand.

We’re not putting them first

Essentially, we are interrupting their cup of coffee. Chances are, your customer is taking a quick break with coffee catching up with her network. And there we are trying to sell her frozen entrees. When you are creating content and scheduling it, try to find ways to fit into her day at the right time with the right message. Study your segment and their behavior. When are they accessing social and what are they saying. What are they consuming at that time of day. Then schedule content that fits into their mindset.

We’re not listening broadly

Putting our fans first means we are going to need to listen to them. And there are plenty of brands out there that have very active listening and monitoring strategies. However, I would bet that those same brands are only listening to the branded and competitor conversations and not the market or industry conversations. And this is a huge miss. If you are only listening in for your brand, we miss out on at least 80% of the conversation that is driving customers to make decisions outside of your brand. Listening broadly fills this gap and builds better content strategies that net results.

We’re not measuring the ROI

If you are still talking about fan count and engagement, your budget is going to be in danger. The C-suite does not fund based on those metrics. We need to start talking about the sales or leads that are driven by social. If we lose the customers in the manner above and lose the support of the c-suite, we might very well be doomed.

On the bright side, we have all the tools we need to change the way we engage people on social and how we position our results to executives. It is time to build thoughtful strategies to build trust with our fans and the people who fund our efforts.

We can do it. But, it’s time to start.


About the Author

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.