There is a lot of conversation going on now as we approach the end of another year with many focused on Social and whether or not there is truly gold in them there hills. Todd Wasserman recently wrote a post for Mashable, IMHO, to generate discussion and foster debate, claiming that Social Marketing is a waste of time.
I disagree wholeheartedly with a great deal of his reasoning. It all depends on how you define marketing. Social marketing is not a waste of time in my opinion… it is the devil in the details. It is all about how you use it.
Buying likes in most cases is a waste of time, unless your cost is low and you effectively turn/nurture those likes/interactions into something more. As a one-time purchase for a coupon, waste of time, but if you effectively converse and convert into a relationship… not so much a waste of time. Same as buying newsletter/email sign-ups. Buy them once with an offer then spam incessantly, you will greatly diminish your return. Buy them and then provide value on an ongoing basis, carefully market and provide content, and you will greatly enhance your business and the value of that list.
My friend and business associate Melissa Garcia captures it perfectly… Facebook, like any social media platform, is like tending a garden, you have to water it and fertilize it and watch it grow and unless you are the FARMER who is actually tending the garden you’re not going to know what works and what doesn’t. The Farmer also has the ability to change up that fertilizer if it’s not working for him.
Twitter as a customer service and listening tool can be a waste of time… or it can greatly enhance your ability to scale relationships, engage with your consumers, solve issues for many while solving them for the few, and build a reputation for listening/hearing… and seriously paying attention.
And as far as being a publisher, many brands have greatly enhanced their brands, kept consumers returning, and built advocacy buy providing great content produced by them and produced by others (influencers, advocates, customer) and aggregated that content to great effect. Most do not do it well and need others to do for them… but publishing and sharing content socially, and syndicated, is enormously powerful, and Collective Bias is leading the way, check out what we do. And what we do is possible, scalable, and profitable because of our ability to market it socially.
A comment from a friend and associate after I made a comment on Facebook about Todd’s post the day it was published, and one that was echoed by many… “From the standpoint of a consumer – I will just say that I have found more products/services and purchased more “new” products and services from seeing others trying and liking them on Twitter, FB and Pinterest - than I EVER did from TV, print ads or coupons.”
Todd is a good writer, and throws in some good one-liners to great effect that are right on point and create the controversy he is looking to foster for page views… but the basic premise of the article, that Social Media Marketing is a waste of time is only correct if you are not using it effectively, in a way that adds value, and strictly utilizing KPI’s that are more directly related to direct marketing and click-throughs.