I sat down for a recent interview and we went deep into a discussion on social media and how brands approach it the wrong way. Most get (or pretend to get) that they need it, but do not invest the right resources into making it work. Click the image above or here, to watch some of that conversation.
It has to be an all in mentality to win and you cannot be half pregnant. You must plant the seeds and then water them with time and dollars to make sure that they not only grow, but flourish. The brands who get this and approach it as religion rather than just tactics, are winning and I am proud to say we work with many of them.
Garyvee said it right when he stated that “social media is just a slang term for the internet-the math is straightforward: people’s internet consumption now happens on mobile, and the thing people do the most on mobile is use social media platforms. That is the internet now. If you don’t understand this, you’re behind. There is zero difference between “digital marketing” and “social media marketing.”
Social media is not a fad, it is the current state of the union. Not creating and putting out content and of equal importance not listening to and engaging with the community, is just not acceptable for any business in today’s day and age. Brands need to wake up and participate, or they are going to put themselves out of business.
Well not really, but the subject is sure to get me some eyeballs right? Hear me out though…
I find that most companies are making bad decisions these days either based on lack of knowledge, insecurity and/or fear. When they are feeling insecure or scared they tend to be conservative and not forward thinking. This is the wrong POV and a surefire way to go out of business. I am convinced that to succeed you must be proactive, confident and be willing to experiment and go outside of your comfort zone.
Many brands hire a Social Media Agency, because they feel pressured to by the market, but don’t really understand what that means. They do it from a position of weakness, rather than a proactive and positive decision to implement what they know deep down needs to get done. Because they are not 100% sold on the value of social media for their business they often are “half pregnant” with the decision and therefore play in the middle of the tennis court. This sometimes makes for an awkward engagement and it almost seems like they are waiting for them to screw up and/or looking to prove that it was not a good hire. Almost like in some perverse way, they want to show them that the decision was a bad one. What is the sense in that? Again, just the wrong POV.
I suggest they take a different posture. Make a threshold decision that online efforts are mission critical for the brand, determine what they want to see happen and then staff to those goals. They will need an excellent Social Media Manager (or an agency like ours that serves as one) who is well versed in all nuances of social media, understands the importance of excellent customer service and perhaps most important, feels like a dedicated employee who works each day to outperform their pay grade. In the end of the day, great companies are driven by great employees who are committed to the cause. Jim Collins talks about that in his book, Good To Great and it all comes down to having the right people on the bus, working on clear objectives.
So when I say the customer is always wrong, what I mean is that in my experience most just have the wrong POV. They either don’t buy in, or they do so half heartedly and don’t allow for the effort to (fully) succeed. At Sircle, our best clients are the ones who have full confidence that social and digital media are a “must have” for their business and either give us full autonomy and/or work with us to solve for X and find the can vs the can’t, in any effort we deploy. When as a team we believe it as religion over tactic, it takes hold and we see amazing things happen.
Clients want and need me to speak my mind and stand my ground. Not to be argumentative or combative, but to be a voice of reason and the usher of change. If I employ a customer is always right mentality, we all fail. So I try to tell them the opposite, with a smile of course.
I meet with brands each week and nearly every single meeting comes down to a conversation where they know they need social media, but they just aren’t ready to really pull the trigger in a meaningful way. They see that retail is hurting and they agree they need to do more web business, but it is less than 5% of their total revenue. They don’t have a digital strategy (let alone a social one) and they think that somehow it is going to change. News alert…it wont!
The problem is that they dont understand digital so it scares them. They instead choose to “play it safe” and advertise on traditional mediums like TV, outdoor and mailers (that don’t work) OR even worse they don’t market at all. I would argue (and I think Seth Godin would agree) that this safe approach is the riskiest of all. Failure to act, is an act of failure. Brands need to start changing this mentality, before they go extinct.
If you had a heart attack today and survived, it would most likely cause you to assess and adjust things right away. You would start taking better care of yourself, would consult with experts on how to get there, read blogs and articles for ideas on how to incorporate for yourself personally and would generally take a much more serious stance on your health and well being. It would be a catalyst for you to start doing what you aways knew you needed to, but just didn’t.
So, imagine that your business had a heart attack today and get going on improving its health now. Stop wasting money on things that you cannot track and don’t work. Stop procrastinating on social media and stop putting your fate in the hands of ill equipped junior staff members, or worse in a marketing department that doesn’t believe in or understand it. Start capturing emails and communicating with your customers in a smart and strategic way. Start creating content that they care about and want to read. Start spending advertising dollars on highly trackable platforms such as Facebook and Instagram now.
As we have said before, social media is just a new term for the internet and social networks are just part of the ecosystem. Not using the internet and/or thinking about how to engage people on their mobile phones (where the focus and attention clearly is) in 2016, is like eating bacon and ice cream 7 days a week and never working out. Some people might survive, but the vast majority will drop dead too soon. Don’t be part of the latter group.
Playing it too safe, is super dangerous for your (business’) health!
We help brands and businesses win online. Too abstract? Well let me explain it a bit further.
Most companies are trying to do more online, generate business from their own e-commerce store and/or strike up a conversation with clients/customers/prospects via digital channels and just don’t know how. Either they don’t have anyone on staff who is skilled in these areas (so we fill that void) OR they do, but those people often don’t know how to approach marketing in the year that we live in. So many senior marketers are employing old and/or safe tactics without understanding how to navigate the current terrain. This is a recipe for disaster.
You see, many Marketing Directors have earned their roles over the last decade, and given their trajectory they didn’t have to get into the trenches on social media. As a result they lack the fundamental understanding of how to use it and how to explain the merits to their bosses. It is safer to stick with what they know, than to experiment and explore with social. We look to join their team and help them change that way of thinking and really make a difference through their social efforts. We make it clear that their brand is “on social media” whether they choose to engage in it or not. Those that get it, are one step closer to harnessing the power of it.
We believe that business drives social and not the other way around. First we define what the goals are for the company and then we lay in a social strategy commensurate with those goals. Once we know what we want to do as a team, then we solve for X. Social is about much more than Tweets and Likes and we create a much deeper and holistic digital plan. Website traffic is mission critical as it generates opportunities for an immediate sale and also creates a pool of people to retarget, email and/or communicate with via social channels. We want to get a lot of potential prospects into the ecosystem and then deploy multiple tactics to continue the conversation and move them down the funnel towards transacting with us.
We tell brands:
Don’t try to sell online and then not have Google Analytics (or an equivalent) to analyze the data.
Don’t have Google Analytics setup, but not look at the data.
Don’t spend money on print, radio and TV and then argue about not wanting to spend on social because you can’t measure it.
Don’t stop spending on Facebook because it is pay to play. Start spending on Facebook because it is the most powerful Ads platform ever.
Don’t email “blast”. Have a real CRM strategy in place and email with some purpose.
In the end of the day, stop talking about what doesn’t work (especially without proof) and start focusing on understanding the market and figuring out what does. Things change and tools evolve. If Gary Vaynerchuk put the video above out today, it probably would have been posted natively on Facebook first because that is what the times demand.
It is hard keeping up with the changes, that is true. Good thing we are here.