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January 10, 2010

6 Problems with Marketing with Social Media

After two years of incessant hype and spurious claims I thought it would be a good time to revisit the entire world of Social Media marketing, particularly as it relates to the world of B2B.

I have always said that Social media marketing works best when it is used to support offline methods, not to replace them.

Problem 1: Limited Audience

If you bought into the hype bubble surrounding Twitter during the last year then you are marketing to the people who are a) On Twitter, b) Following you, c) Online when you are, and d) Not inundated with spurious garbage and spammy DM's.

What you are missing are the dozens or even hundreds of people who are not on Social media who also need your help. (Their CEO is not on Twitter)

Problem 2: Too many coaches who have never played.

I have posted here on this before. But as Social media gets older the number of entrants claiming special knowledge seems to be growing exponentially.

Where's the beef!! If they don't have significant results that are relevant to what you want to do, and they cen replicate these easily, then get away from them.

Problem 3: Inflated Expectations

No amount of Tweeting, Friending or Linking will get you a contract tomorrow. But cold calling will....

When a Social media expert starts spouting off about how what you used to do doesn't work anymore, get as far away from her as possible.

It does work, it works exceptionally well, as does display advertising. What Social media Marketing does is to add additional avenues for you to reach your targeted base.

Blogging, for example, has often been touted as the king of Social media marketing. This is not true. Blogging won't make your phone ring. But what it does do is add to your brand. it is a branding strategy, not a marketing strategy.

Problem 4: 1000 followers does not equal 1 fan

"Friends" have nothing to do with friends. Online connections are often there only for what they can get rather than for what they can give.

This is an enormous shift from offline networking where the amount of value you can provide tends to convert into value you receive also.

Another grip I have always had is that people forget they are dealing with real human beings online. Would you run around a conference hall shouting "Look at this! Look at this!!"? Of course not, so why is it acceptable online?

Problem 5: Wasting time

How much can you generate from 10 cold calls a day? What about 15 client visits per 3 week? or two networking events per month? Or working on case studies, brochures, specific reports and value adding marketing tools? (Like books and reports)

Instead of spending time developing IP, relationships and marketing collateral, many people are hiding behind the computer screen in the mistaken belief that somehow this will unlock a flood of people to give them money.

Also, instead of doing the work, we spend a heck of a lot more time talking about the work. At the end of the day someone has to do something of value...

Problem 6: Buzz

The currency of Social Media Marketing is Buzz. Blog post mentions, retweets, links, traffic etcetera. Yet very few talk about Return on Investment except to either say it is not possible to measure, or to issue warming statements affirming that "we all know that it adds value".

Avoiding measurement, and particularly cashable measurement, has always been the first signs of an increasingly hollow argument.


There is no doubt that Social media marketing does add value. But despite what the best spinners in the world are telling us - it is not a silver bullet to fix your revenue problems.

1) Choose your channels correctly based on what you do.

2) make sure you have firm measurement standards in place. measurement that lends it self to cashable analysis.

3) Do not rely on social media to replace your offline activities - but instead to supplement them and increase their pull.

4) If you are going to get a coach, get one who has played your game!

I hope this helps you to reduce your time tweeting and increase your time invoicing. Good luck!

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