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What Social Media is Not

Srinivas Chari
20th Mar 2013
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Note: This is the third article in the 7 part series on social media contributed by Xerago. First article here and second hereCynicism is sometimes a good quality, a quality important to a marketer. It makes one question things. Take the entire hoopla over social media marketing, for instance. Instead of getting dizzy over everything that social media can do for businesses, it might be a good idea to start with knowing what the medium cannot do.

Presence doesn’t equal popularity:

Merely creating an account isn’t all that it takes to be popular on social networks. Alternately, effort that is invested in social media almost always doesn’t pay off pronto. It’s the classic case of slow and steady winning the race.

Plan, plan, plan

As fun as getting on social media sounds, be assured that it is all serious business just like any other part of your marketing efforts. It requires focused strategy, consistent effort and careful tracking.

Not a one-stop solution

Social media marketing is great for getting word-of-mouth promotions out but it can’t really perform magic. Expecting the medium to miraculously turn ineffective products or services into fantastic ones is a fairytale possibility that doesn’t translate to real life.

Not a stand-alone process

While social media marketing is likely to make a difference to your overall marketing efforts, it can’t completely replace marketing and PR practices altogether. It works best as an ancillary support medium rather than a comprehensive marketing plan by itself.

Not a recruitment channel

One interesting trend with social media has been the increase in announcements about job opportunities. But hoping that social media will take over the recruitment function entirely is plain silly. At best, social media can help spread the word about the opportunities and establish initial contact with prospective candidates. The conversation then needs to be taken offline to close the deal or reject it.

Not a contest that can be rigged

So someone has told you that it’s not very difficult to garner ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ since they can all be purchased. Well, maybe but what you then need to ask yourself is - if the product/service is not inherently likeable, what is the point in paying money and creating a façade? How exactly do you expect that to help your business?

Not all about customer service

You might have heard horror stories of how companies who ignored complaints on social networks and had their reputation take a big beating. There are also stories and instances of clever and wonderful ways of providing customer service via the social medium. But here’s the catch – merely having proactive customer service online isn’t going to radically change life around for your business.

Not a great booster of sales

The biggest naivety that most people indulge in is the belief that social media marketing can directly and magically boost sales. Case in point being the social sales numbers generated for IBM. The technology giant found out that shoppers who were referred by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated only a .34 percent of all online sales on the occasion of Black Friday. This was a decrease of more than 35 percent since 2011.

Wisen up!

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