Can’t buy me likes – What makes social media marketing work

The debate rages on, and both sides are convinced they are right—no, I’m not talking about the debt ceiling, I’m talking about the debate going on between social media experts and wantabes over how much time you need to spend on social media marketing. On one side you have those who say that just having a presence and updating your promotions everyday is enough, on the other you have those who claim that you need consistent engagement and follow up to fully reap the benefits of this marketing outlet. The truth is that they may both be right, but not for the reasons they think.
The Past (As in the moment right before you woke up this morning)
In the past companies could in theory buy eyes and ears to see and hear their ads. You put a commercial on a popular program, do a direct mail piece to a demographic in a particular zip code, or even pay for sponsorship at an event or on a web site. This gave the marketer a sense of empowerment, “I have a message I want you to see and hear so watch and listen.” Research could be done to identify a target market and demographic but in the end the marketer could put out an ad and was almost guaranteed a response. Frequency and reach were determined by the marketer and their budget so the consumer was either force fed the message or left hungry for more. This thinking is the root of why both camps are wrong and right in their philosophies.
The Present
Today’s reality is that all communication is filtered, not just advertising but communication as a whole. In the same way people can screen their calls with caller id, have their secretary tell a sales person they are in a meeting, or simply turn up the volume on their ipod headphones to drown out the surrounding noise, the consumer has the power to choose how to use their limited and valuable time, and in most cases it is not for sale. This makes crafting your message more important than ever, and it has to be refined daily since it’s just as easy for a consumer to turn your message off as it is to hear it in the first place. The most important thing to remember is that before you can speak to the consumer, you have to listen. They dictate what, when, and how often you speak. Talk too much - get ignored, say the wrong thing - get ignored, talk too little – you get the point. So what do you do?
The Solution
Successful social media marketing requires several things, and if you’re a do-it-yourself king or queen I hate to break it to you but successful social media marketing is very time consuming. I will share one of the key elements that helps our agency be so successful- it is that we see ourselves as representing the consumer not the brand that is paying us. This thinking appears backwards but they don’t just give away masters degrees were I graduated from so hear me out. As I explained above, every form of communication is filtered so every bit of attention a consumer gives you needs to be rewarded. Reward them with the message they want to receive and they will reward you with their loyalty. Social is not a push or pull strategy, it’s a dance, and each partner determines how long they dance for.

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