If Everyone Else Jumped Off a Bridge…

Bridge over a large river.Are you under a lot of pressure to incorporate social media into your marketing plans, but aren’t sure that it’s really the best use of your resources and budget? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The more people I talk to, the more stories I’m hearing about large companies with hundreds of social media properties that were hastily thrown up in the fervor to “go social,” but have long since been abandoned like a Tickle Me Elmo buried in the bottom of a toy chest.

Remember when social media marketing was free? Yes, I know. It was never free, but that’s what your boss thought, right? (Or maybe it was your boss’s boss.) And now it’s even less free than it ever was. Back in the good old days, you could make a few Facebook posts here or there, tweet a couple of times a week, pin a few photos to Pinterest and that passed for a social media strategy because that’s pretty much what everyone else was doing. But those days are gone.

Social media marketing takes a real commitment. It takes time and money. It takes dedicated resource. It’s not enough to block out thirty minutes each morning to “do social.” It requires a strategy, and planning, and implementation, and analysis, and evolution. And it’s not like advertising or email or direct mail because social media isn’t like a campaign. There isn’t a predetermined end to it. Sure, you might incorporate social into a larger marketing campaign, but when that’s over, you still have to continue to feed the social media beast because it’s not about getting your message into the hands of your customers, it’s about engagement.

The first and most important question to ask is whether social media is the best way to create customer engagement. Even if your customers are on social media it doesn’t mean that they are looking for you there. You need to understand when and where and how your customers want to engage with you. So before you follow all of your friends off that bridge, you need to make sure that there’s water in the river, and also that you know how to swim.

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