In 2010, we started looking at how our clients were managing and copying with Social Media, and realised we’d have to develop

Social Media strategies are just like mega phones in open fields

something better. Too many companies develop social media strategies that in effect, are the same as having a mega phone out in a big empty field. Nobody’s listening, so the answer is just to turn up the volume

Yes, we deliver social media strategies and implementation, and we also do content. We’ve done this for years. We’re just really good at keeping secrets :)

It’ is however,  no secret at all that I hold a special disdain for 99% of the ideas that abound about how social media should or could be used for marketing. Most people have just replaced cold calling on a telephone with cold calling on Facebook or in a 140 characters on twitter.

Self promotion looks like this: You just don’t care about anyone else. While you might be somewhat respectful, self promotion at best looks sad and desperate but in reality, it’s viewed as disrespectful. Because basically, your viewing other people’s time and interest in learning, sharing, creating as nothing more but free airtime for what you sell.

My view of the social media marketing world – pretty unchanged since 2009 – is this: a pyramid of talent with some really good, talented people who create incredibly interesting and magnetic content at the top, followed by a core of really good, capable strategists who deliver good, interesting stuff and then a large base of (wannabe’s?) that can be described as interested but wide of the mark base (something between a Gary Vaynerchuk and BJ Mendelson’s view of it).

The biggest wasteland in social media is split between the curators of news and thin engagement (brand discussions about irrelevancy) and curators of “How to be in social media”. The vast majority of wannabe social media marketers have several fundamental flawed let downs and they are thus:

1. Just Sharing news (most often on auto-pilot) about how important social media marketing is just dumb and is a short game – are you really telling people already on Social Media about how important social media is to their brand (whom nobody has ever heard of, by the way) via Social Media?

2. Believing that online marketing can be separated from Technical Knowledge is just daft – Get used to analytics tools and technology and learn to apply it. Actually, social media is very measurable, it can be effective but you’re just avoiding it maybe because what your strategy might just be broken. Social Media can have a direct impact on leads – but you have to be A) very good and B) very clever.

3. Not understanding an audience. You see this in two ways – direct selling (your target market did not come to twitter to buy from you, trust me on this) or being totally irrelevant.

When our head of content and social joined Primary Position, he shared some observations, which is always great. I can’t tell you how vital  it is to get an outside opinion or view on anything that you do. The first is, just  how measurable SEO and PPC are. Its measurable, in the sense, of a fine tooth comb. I can’t think of any other platform where it’s so easily and finely measured. Every visit, sale, lead, link, rank position, quality score – we have metrics for everything! I’d love to talk about this more but I never have time!

Well, I often jibe with social media marketers just to see their reactions – are they developing the right metrics – are they leading based on observation, experience, results or are they just running a theory.

Theories are really critical to human evolution. Every idea, invention, creation starts with a theory. But theories must be quickly backed up by a test which makes them a fact. Even if that test is a thought experiment.

An end goal is not a metric, an end goal (e.g. sales) is a desired result. KPI’s tell you not just how well you’re doing to get to your goal, but how well you’re doing at implementing the things you need to get started too.

Here’s the executive outcome: SEO and PPC taught us to be highly disciplined about testing and measuring. Allowing a theory to remain a theory is relatively lazy and is quickly found out. If you want a good social media strategy then my advice is this: Make sure you measure it all through the process, not just at the end gate.

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