Social Media Marketing: A Necessity or a Necessary Evil?
by Julie Weishaar
March 16, 2019
Social Media Marketing: A Necessity or a Necessary Evil

To use social media marketing (SMM) or not, that is the question. But what is the answer?  This is a hot topic these days.

There is some validity to all the arguments for and against using social media marketing.

Some Arguments Against SMM Are, Social Media:

  • Doesn’t sell
  • Is all hype
  • ROI can take months
  • ROI is difficult to determine
  • Doesn’t generate profit
  • Is very difficult to monetize
  • Can be unpredictable
  • Takes up too much time
  • Wastes time and is addictive
  • Duplicates information
  • Does not lead directly to sales

Some Pro-Social Media Points Are, Social Media:

  • Isn’t supposed to sell, it is supposed to influence
  • Increases brand and product visibility and website traffic
  • Is about conversations, not conversions, marketing – not selling
  • Builds relationships
  • Enables companies to identify potential crisis situations and respond appropriately
  • Is both free, entertaining, and cost effective
  • Complements other marketing efforts
  • Gets the message out faster to a larger audience

What is Social Media Marketing?

The answer lies in ones’ understanding of what social media marketing actually is. “Social” means a “friendly gathering,” “media” means “a form of communication,” and “marketing” means “an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.”

As a phrase and in context, social media marketing can be explained as an online gathering (or platform) for communications that is part of a process designed to move goods from producer to consumer.

The problem some people have with social media marketing is in their understanding of what it is supposed to do. Would you hire a plumber to paint your house?

I doubt it. But you might ask your plumber to recommend a good painter, especially if the plumber has a good reputation and you trust his or her opinion. This is an example of offline social networking.

Anyone who expects to engage in social media marketing and see an immediate, direct impact on their bottom line sales will be in for a disappointment.

A tweet will not make your phone ring, make a customer walk through your door, or fill out an order form on your website (of course, there are those lucky ones who might have this happen, but it is not the norm).

If someone becomes a fan of your business fan page on Facebook today, it doesn’t mean they are going to buy your product or service tomorrow.

Having a website doesn’t mean people will automatically visit it. The key is in the understanding and analysis of your specific needs, your available resources, and your overall marketing strategy.

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Should You Use Social Media?

The short answer is “yes”. There is no doubt that social media marketing has merit.

This is one situation where it would benefit a business owner to engage in some aspect of social media marketing because “everyone else is.” If your competitor is maintaining an online presence and you are not, you lose.

However, how much merit and how much time you are willing and able to commit depends entirely on what works best for each business owner.

It is important to manage your understanding and expectations of social media marketing. Determine what your available resources are, which marketing methods are currently working and which aren’t (this includes traditional offline marketing), investigate where your competitors are hanging out online and join them.

Then develop an overall marketing strategy that integrates the most effective initiatives for your particular niche and situation. People have a tendency to lean towards all or nothing.

In the case of social media marketing, it is most definitely advantageous to find that middle ground.

Social Media Best Practices

Social media platforms are not places for you to shout your message to anyone who might be listening. They are places where you can, and should, share helpful and relevant information to your target market.

Companies that do nothing but self-promote are not not going to see much of an advantage. As a matter of fact, they are more likely to turn off their potential customers.

Use social media for brand recognition and for a medium to show those most likely to purchase from your company that you are an expert in your niche. Do this by providing value.

In addition, keep in mind that social media is a two-way communication channel. You want to interact with your audience to show them that your brand is likeable and trustworthy.

People like to do business business with people they know, like, and trust. Social media affords companies the opportunity to show their target audience who they are and earn their trust.

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