At the end of my last blog article, I mentioned a book by Seth Godin called Meatball Sundae. It tackles a very, very, very common marketing mistake: choosing marketing tools that are not suited to your business.
When social media came on the scene, everyone got on that train. Suddenly, everyone had to have a Facebook page. When some of the luster started to fade, executives started asking a very important question: is Facebook making us any money? Marketers would point to the number of “Likes” they had or even the number of “Shares” they would get from their clever posts, but it was hard to say whether Facebook was making them any money at all.
There are two important things we learned about social media:
- Facebook is an advertising tool, not a sales tool.
Putting a post on Facebook is like running an ad in the paper. People might like the clever ad, but they don’t necessarily buy your product (which is why you can have 40,000 Likes but no rise in sales). It can help you raise awareness about events or products or other developments in your company, but people don’t buy something from you because of your Facebook presence (unless you are a B-to-C and you offer discounts through your page — that WILL work, just like putting a coupon in the paper.)
- Facebook is, by design, a social tool, not a business tool.
Many people love to use it for connecting with family and friends, not so much for business associates. A client may be put off by a sales person contacting them on Facebook, kinda like a sales person stalking them at church on Sunday. If you use Facebook (or any social media tool) the wrong way, you can drive potential clients away (this is especially true for B-to-B companies).
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are potential tools you can use, but you need to be sure you understand how best to use them. Before you buy into a new tool, be sure to consider:
- Is my potential market here?
- How would my potential market like to interact with me here?
- What are my realistic expectations for this tool? (SMART goals!)
- How will I measure my success with this tool?
- Who will be responsible for setting it up and maintaining it?
Depending on your market, you may find that having a Facebook page (or Twitter account, etc.) is not optional anymore — it is an expectation. How you use it, though, and what resources you should commit to it are another question.