Unfortunately, this is Social Media Marketing for many:

Look deeply into my eyes… you are feeling veeeery sleepy… sleeeeepy… deeeeper… deeeeeeeeper… relax and let the social media mystique take you to a happier place. Deeeeper… Dee…

Yeah, sometimes I feel like social media has cast some kind of spell over businesses, specifically throughout the marketing departments of some companies. It’s easy to be seduced. It’s easy to be swayed by viral videos, tweets, and blogs with thousands of readers. It’s easy to think that social media can be the magic pill to fix marketing mishaps. But in our passionate pursuit to capture the social media magic, maybe we should be mindful of the limits to ANY marketing tool – ESPECIALLY social media.

Social media can’t fix a broken branding model.
Broken brands need to back up to the beginning and find the TRUE Brand (Truthful, Relevant, Unique, Engaging) that lies within. I’ve written about this before, so I won’t go into the specifics, but social media won’t make you something you’re simply not ABLE to be. What social media WILL do is amplify and accelerate the core values and attributes (as well as the ugly flaws) of your brand. So be cautious of where you step.

Social media can’t substitute for strategy.
Obvious? I guess not. Sure, we’ve all seen those companies with the languishing Twitter account or empty FaceBook pages. Or the contrary – companies screaming, “Become our fan on FaceBook,” without much further engagement or incentive for the end users… WHY? Without a proper strategy and objectives how do you know if social media is a successful addition to your marketing? And the number of fans or followers of your account does NOT equate to marketing success.

in our passionate pursuit to capture the social media magic, maybe we should be mindful of the limits to ANY marketing tool – ESPECIALLY social media.

Social media can’t succeed without a TRUE focus on the customer.
While this should be part of the above strategy, I wanted to make sure that I brought attention to it. If all you’re about is pushing messages about your company / product / service, etc… then you need an ego check. This is SOCIAL media. If you want to have TRUE customer engagement, you need to show you care for the benefits of the customer, not just pumping your own bloated ego.

Social media is not a stand-alone solution.
I’ve been in the marketing and advertising industry since… well, let’s just say my first “marketing” job didn’t involve a single computer. And guess what, companies successfully marketed themselves. Some even made money! In all seriousness, being a practitioner of social media does not make one a marketing guru. Sure new tools are great and they have their applications in “modern communications,” but without properly integrated marketing strategy, advertising, public relations, traditional media (TV, Radio, Print, etc.) and a good understanding of digital strategy, you’re just adding to the noise.

So before that “Social Media Marketing Magician” starts with their hocus-pocus pitch that social media is the answer to all of your marketing woes, just blink. Clear your eyes of the social media smoke-n-mirrors and take a clear look at your marketing. If social media can be integrated into your marketing plan, you’ll see it. If you can’t see it, and still need to know, then consult a professional marketer with a mastery of social media marketing tactics.

When you’re looking for TRUE social media marketing integration. Think of those you follow online. Who would you trust with your company’s brand? Then, ask the question SOCIALLY.

Keep Cooking! (Strategic marketing decisions…)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef