My eldest stepdaughter and her partner are starting up a new venture, and like all startups before and since, they are trying to balance resources with demands, particularly with regard to external communication (marketing, PR, etc.).
Like a lot of Adelaide businesses, they are exceptionally hesitant to invest any time or money into a marketing channel unless they know they are going to get a positive return. They want guarantees—that letterbox flyers will bring in business, that a Yellow Pages ad will bring in business, that fridge magnets will bring in business. You get the idea.
They want me to build them a website, which I am very happy to do. But their idea of a website is pre-social media, a ‘1.0’ brochure-ware website, if you will. Neither of them are on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and they have very little experience of these mediums (read: none for Facebook or Twitter, and they’ve only watched videos on YouTube, never created them).
They don’t know it yet, but I’m going to build them a blog and a Facebook page and show them how Hootsuite works. I fully expect the hand-holding, educative process to take a while. It is, after all, quite a journey they are about to embark upon, even more so as they have a newborn infant to look after as well.
But one thing I know they are going to ask me when I start them down the social media path is, “how many customers will Facebook bring me?” It’s the question every client asks of their consultant (be their consultant a ‘proper’ one or just their teenage/20-something offspring/relation).
As as every true consultant precisely and accurately replies, “it depends”. It will depend on how much time and energy they are willing to put into it; it will depend on what sort of content they are going to share; it will depend on what outcome they are looking for; it will depend on what questions they ask of themselves in the beginning and what answers they thus give.
Just as in old-school marketing, there are no guarantees in this new social marketing. It is only when you have datasets in the hundreds of thousands that you can confidently start to say, “if we upload this video we will generate X enquiries, which will lead to Y sales.” And even then you could be wrong—the video could flop or it could go viral (in which case you have happily seen a dramatic uplift in viewer numbers, but they might be watching your video for the wrong, non-buying, reasons).
If you are a company who has yet to join in the conversation that is happening online in the social media space, do your business and your self a favour: seek out a social media professional; they are probably going to have more business wisdom and make more sense than, with all due respect, your teenage/20-something offspring/relation.
If you are a business that is hesitant about committing resources to this new world of marketing, contact a social media professional, because they will have case studies that will help you see that others have ventured into this brave new world and have generated success.
If you are in Adelaide and wish to talk to a professional by all means contact me: call me on 0410 642 052 or email me Lee@LeeHopkins.com. Or you can contact any of my very knowledgeable peers:
- Michelle Prak at Prakky
- Steve Davis at Baker Marketing
- Shai Coggins at Vervely.com
- Sarah Thomas at The Social PR Co
- Rubina Carlson
- Charlie-Helen Robinson at Unearthing
These are the best of the best in Adelaide; I stand by them as highly-skilled professionals who can help your organisation move successfully into the social media space. All are great tacticians, some are also great strategists.
There are no guarantees with social media marketing, except perhaps one: if you don’t do it you won’t reap its benefits.
What benefits are they?
· Opportunity to connect with a larger audience than might otherwise be reached;
· Opportunity to have your message and cause reach further than through traditional media channels;
· Opportunity to engage in direct dialogue with customers and potential customers at the venues they prefer to ‘hang out’ in when online;
· Opportunity to develop a more personal relationship and online personality;
· An opportunity to change the culture of the organisation to more closely meet the needs of today’s stakeholders;
· Opportunity to create a space in the online ecosystem that truly represents your organisation’s business and cultivates stakeholders’ loyalty and trust;
· Allows your organisation to participate in the unique culture of each available social media platform to engage stakeholders;
· Allows your organisation to establish an organisational structure that constantly targets the next new media trend rather than getting bogged down and forgotten on platforms that ‘lose their flavour’;
· Allows your organisation to attract online champions and change agents who will uncover the social networks needed to reach and the influencers who will help build your organisation’s reputation in the networked world;
· Allow your organisation to consistently adapt itself to market needs and trends based on the invaluable connections it will forge, and the empathy and insight it will garner in the process.
It can also generate sales, to which innumerable organisations can attest.
Social media is a risk. You risk expending energy on something that won’t reap you the rewards you seek. But that is true of any business activity. If you contact me or one of the aforementioned professionals, you stand a far greater chance of your activities actually reaping dividends.
Go on, pick up the phone or email me now, or check out the websites of my colleagues. We don’t bite, and we do promise to help you get the most out of this brave new world.