On June 5th, I will be presenting a webinar called “Beyond the Basics: 5 Myths and 10 Rules for Advanced Social Media Mastery“. It might as well be called, “Stop the madness because the social media world is going down a dark path.”
After delivering a good portion of it at the Automotive Boot Camp last week, the feedback was so tremendous that I decided it was time to do something that I’ve never done before – give a presentation for a second time. The world of digital marketing moves so quickly that I’ve never given a presentation more than once without major changes, but things are different. This only took some minor tweaks (mostly because it will only be 3 weeks between presentations) and some additions to make it worthy.
Here’s the thing. Social media marketing in general, particularly in my arena of automotive, is heading in the wrong direction. Unlike other variations of marketing, the wrong paths and poor strategies seem to persist in social media for longer, much longer, than they would in other arenas. It took me a little while to understand why this is the case, but after talking to dozens of clients and potential clients over the past couple of weeks, I’ve finally figured it out.
The challenges are two-fold. The first is nothing sinister. It’s just that there’s a cloud around what to expect from social media. Facebook in particular is one of those mythical beasts that is simply hard to pin down. It’s not that the statistics aren’t there easily available for anyone to use to track their effectiveness. It’s that Facebook and the digital marketing world make it challenging to understand the numbers properly. Heck, most businesses are still focused on how many fans they have. This is just one example of a misconception that has persisted because the truth is counter-intuitive. I can see why people still hold to this, but I’ve also demonstrated very clearly that a proper strategy applied to a page with 500 fans can be exponentially more effective and reach more potential customers than a standard strategy on a page with 5000 fans.
The second reason for the continued focus in the wrong directions is much more sinister. Without naming names, the social media vendors and service providers that I’ve examined seem to have at least a basic understanding of what needs to be done but they have chosen not to go down the right path because it’s simply too hard.
- It’s too hard to sell to clients. I’ve had the experience of being looked at like I was casting black magic spells when showing potential clients the difference between their 5000-fan page and one of our clients’ 500-fan pages that is getting 10X the engagement, reach, foot traffic visitors, and website clicks.
- It’s too hard to make the change. Once you’re down the path of posting “caption this” pictures of cats, it’s hard to switch to relevant content promoted properly through authentic channels and with transparent motives.
- It’s too hard to do the manual work. There’s a reason why my team averages single-digit clients per employee. The thought of giving an individual 10, 20, or even 50 (yes, some vendors have 50 clients per account manager) never crosses my mind because I understand the amount of work that has to go into finding the highest levels of success on social media.
- It’s too hard to demonstrate real results. This is arguably the most important reason that most social media vendors do not attempt to go down the path of saying that social media increases business. They aren’t able to prove it. The reality is this – there’s true ROI in social media with the exact right strategy, particularly for localized businesses. You can drive people to the store. You can drive people to the website. Branding is a tertiary goal with the right strategies in place, but it seems to be the primary goal for so many services out there. Branding should be the consolation prize, not the end result.
I strongly encourage everyone, potential clients and even competitors, to watch this webinar on June 5th. I’ll be going over the myths and rules that can and should change the way the industry perceives social media. I’ll be giving real-world examples, not just speaking hypothetically or discussing bogus theories. If you listen to one webinar this year, make it this one. Your competitors may be listening. Don’t let them get the upper hand.