Social Media is NOT a Marketing Plan, think Brand!

It’s important to realize that Social Media is a tool, a very powerful one but far from a keystone for any business. Social Media tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are only as valuable as the brand and the marketing campaign.

  • A Brand is an identity that a company, organization or individual facilitates.
  • Marketing is the practice of delivering content to society in a manner that leaves a memorable impact or sparks action.   

This cannot be done by simply setting up a Facebook Page or Twitter Account, in fact the most successful consultants an agencies still struggle developing their own Social Media because they spend so much time on the brand and their campaigns. Social Media is part of the campaign, and anyone with a successful business or organization will tell you there was a lot that came before social media or a lot that was done in addition to social media.

Think Foundation:

Ask an architect, builder, or perhaps a homeowner about the importance of foundation, they’ll all agree that while how it looks is important, the value is in the foundation. The same is true for companies, organizations and individuals. Think of the job search environment, HR professionals will tell you how sometimes the most talented people get missed because of things like poor resumes and grooming.

Brand is the key to building anything that you want to be memorable or spark action. This means thinking about the basics and it all starts with a mission.

  • What is the purpose of what you do?
  • What need are you meeting?
  • How will you meet that need?
  • What will that experience be like?
  • Why  do you meet this need better than others?

Now think about the marketing campaign, and remember it’s not just about introductions, it’s also about follow up and retention.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • When do they have this need?
  • Where are they when they have this need?
  • What value are you offering?
  • What will make them talk about or share what your offering?
  • Why will they buy from you? Now and in the future!
  • How will you use these efforts to become more efficient and responsive?

Think Campaign:

Once you have answered the basic questions, now it’s time to think about the campaign and decide how and where to execute it. Marketing takes time and the brand will develop its ultimate identity from the consumers, so when you think about the campaign think in six month intervals.

Do not confuse marketing campaigns with advertising. The marketing campaign is the process by which you answer the questions above and meet the purpose of those answers. Advertising is the components of the marketing campaign.

Advertising is in the same structural campaign issue as Social Media, both have costs associated with them. Advertising may require you to buy ad space, generate flyers, purchase pay per click ads on search engines or social media sites. The same is true of Social Media, it cost time, either yours which is likely better spent on your business, or the marketing agency, consultant or local self proclaimed guru.

Each type of Advertising or Social Media investment should work together for the brand in a manner that accomplishes the campaign mission.

If you make commitments in advertising and social media do so with specific intent and purpose, do not stick with the product (advertising or social media) if it is not where you are getting traction. However, do be prepared to come back to it at a later point. If your purchasing advertising space it had better be brand specific, but have a fresh new look every month.

Social Media as a Tool:

Social Media is great for a lot of things, once you have a brand and a plan that is. Social Media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn require a lot of resources, well if you’re using them correctly that is.

Facebook garnishes a lot of everyday activity, but did you know that it’s highest value comes on Saturdays? Facebook is a networking event that never ends, the highest value for Facebook is the ability to interact, or engage and once you stop the value in it is diminished almost completely.

Twitter is one of the best sources for specific information or content, the limit to #140 characters does a great job at reducing the amount of useless or irrelevant words. Likely when you search for something in twitter you’ll find it, if it’s there… are you? Twitter’s highest value comes from our societies need for instant gratification, the answers are short, to the point and in the most successful brands, come almost instantly.

LinkedIn is for professionals, so leave you beach photos, family photos and weekend adventures on Facebook. LinkedIn is for professional networking and problem solving. This social media tool is a great place for the actual business owner or professional to get hands on with who they are and what they do. LinkedIn allows for a transparent look at who the people are you connect with. The profile page can include work experience, education, social media sites, websites, ongoing blog entries, twitter feeds and more. It is the most efficient way for someone to get an entire look at the professional  they are communicating with. Why is this important, well LinkedIn helps identify needs, if you have a product or service that can meet that professionals need, you likely have a client. The groups feature is also a great place to learn and showcase your expertise.

Summary:

Connecting a product, service or talent with consumers and clients takes a lot more than just a social media account. Given the limited resources that most businesses and organizations face, it is far more important to think about the brand and the campaign first, then find out if and which social media tool fits into that plan. Social Media is a powerful marketing tool, enter into it with a long term plan, a purpose and brand expectations above sales expectation. As Arthur Germain, a fellow professional asks his clients and professionals “what is your brand story?” because social media does not change your story, it helps carry it.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Comments

  1. Great article. Very important and clear information for all business owners, business consultants and marketing experts.

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