5 Examples of When Social Media Marketing is Not the Answer

So, a couple of weeks ago, I posted an opportunity for you, our readers, to ask questions about social media marketing. I received a few great questions, so hopefully I’ll be able to shed some light on a few of them. I originally was going to roll two questions into one, but I ended up concentrating on just one for now. Not that the others aren’t as important, I just felt like I needed to do this one first. Anyway, here’s the question:

I’d like to hear examples when social media marketing is NOT the answer.

(Ok, not really a question, but a request for answers nonetheless.) So here are 5 examples of when social media marketing is NOT the answer.

When You are Doing it for the Sake of Doing It

We’ve got a great product and we want to make sure as many people know about it as possible. We’ve also got a great commercial, which is supported by an awesome website, and these hilarious posters and billboards. Oh, and we should probably tack on some social media to this, too, since that’s what the kids like.

::Sigh:: This is a case that happens all too often. Social media isn’t something that should be tacked on as a way to further your campaign, it should be something that is built into your campaign from the get go. Unfortunately, this luxury isn’t always available, but it certainly makes a social media campaign harder to implement if it is something just to be tacked on last minute. The moral of the story is to know WHY you are doing social media, and not to do it just to do it, because it can definitely flop.

When You’d Rather Half-Ass It 

Pardon my French, ladies. But if you are going to do a social media campaign, at least do it right. Sometimes people make the misconception that social media is cheap, but something that they aren’t taking into account is the time it requires to do it right. If you want a social media campaign to succeed, then you’d better be prepared to do the work it takes to delve into with all you’ve got. Trust me, if you want people to notice you (in a good way), then you’d better be prepared to handle all the details. 

When You Don’t Have an Audience

Let’s say you have an outlet for thermodynamic cooling systems. First of all, congratulations on your business. Secondly, before you go putting together a Facebook fan page or a Twitter page, do a little research to see who is actually having conversation about this subject in the first place. Here’s a hint: no one.

Sure, this is an extreme example, but again, social media is about engaging individuals in the social sphere so that they can understand and gain affinity for your brand, thus driving them to make a purchase. Unfortunately the, “if you build it, they will come,” model doesn’t exactly apply in social media very often. You have to first know your audience and where they are before you can engage them. Sometimes they aren’t using social media, so don’t try to get them there.

When You Want “Viral” 

You can’t do it. You can have all the viral video elements there, but it might not ever catch on. There are copywriters and ad people out there who tell you that people are stupid and will buy whatever it is that you’re selling. It is my belief that people are actually NOT stupid, and will, in fact, see right through your BS. Instead, give audiences something unexpected and creative and let THEM decide whether or not it is viral worthy. You can’t control virality, but you can control creativity and execution.

When You’re Not Ready

I think this is really the overarching takeaway here. It doesn’t matter how great your product is or isn’t, if you aren’t ready for social media, then I don’t suggest going after it. Social media marketing takes research and exploration to beget understanding. If you aren’t ready for it, or if you don’t understand it, then hire someone who does.

Again, I don’t claim to be a social media expert, or guru, or anything like that. I just happen to have a job in social media marketing, so I suppose that makes me as qualified as anyone else. I hope to hear more questions from you, so I’m definitely keeping the mailbag open. You can either post a question / topic in the comments below, or you can send me an email: jeremy@ignitesocialmedia.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Photo by: Jaako

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