Why There is Still Social Marketing FUD

Social Marketing FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. Are you one of millions that still suffer from social marketing FUD. It is no wonder. In the past couple of weeks my social practice has led me to meetings with retail store operators, FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) brands, an insurance company, a media company, and a shoe brand. All these meeting proved that so many are still very confused about social media. While this is just a mere sampling, it proves to me there is still a strong problem.

Elmer FUDAnd why is there such a social FUD problem? Let’s start by looking at the people running social endeavors at companies, agencies, and independent practices. How many of them actually do brand, industry, and target market research? How many can produce a creative brief? And how many set a strategy that includes messaging strategy, content strategy, social channel plan, content distribution and earned media plan?

I am not sure if the problem is with the individual leading the social effort or with the person who hired them. It is kind of like the chicken and the egg scenario. What came first? The unqualified person or the hiring manager that has little idea what to look for. I really hate to be harsh, but there is an over abundance of social leaders that have no idea how to produce results. This fact was punctuated in Mashable’s article this week (The Reality of Social Media Marketing Crushes Expectations). Even “Mashable’s social makeover” did not yield results. The reason – a focus on a Facebook strategy. There should never be a Facebook strategy. I am not saying Facebook is not part of a social marketing plan, but that is exactly it. It is a part, not the start of a social strategy. If anyone comes to you and starts their discussion with how they will use Facebook or Twitter as part of the social strategy, do know they are starting in the wrong place and will likely produce poor results.

If you are serious about leveraging the power of social media, make sure your social leader or prospect can answer the following:

1) What is the target audience behavior as it relates to digital usage?
2) What are you looking to accomplish via social marketing? How will results be measured? How do social metrics relate to business KPIs (key performance indicators)?
3) What is the messaging strategy? Content strategy? How will content be proliferated, shared, and produce advocacy? How will earned media be provoked?
4) How does social marketing integrate with other corporate strategies to create synergies and measurable results?
5) What does realistic success look like and how long will it take to produce results? What will be done along the way to monitor interim results to make sure desired outcomes will be produced?

Social media has been around for a number of years now and quite frankly it disturbs me how misunderstood it is. I attribute this lack of knowledge to a majority of so called social media experts and gurus who have no idea how to collaborate and integrate social efforts into corporate initiatives. Social marketing is so much deeper than producing sweepstakes to increase likes and followers or coming up with cute posts. And yet this is the limitation of most social efforts. There are way too many people in social roles creating crap.

For those of you who know me and have followed my Social Steve presence, you know I am thrilled to share social marketing best practices and tips. And while I am happy to enlighten my readers, I am troubled by the need to continually clear the smoking mirrors produced by social media fakers.

Demand more. Make sure you understand how your social leader is going to drive results. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it is likely flawed.

Make it Happen,
Social Steve



Filed under change management, company organization, leadership, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

10 responses to “Why There is Still Social Marketing FUD

  1. Morning Steve. Thanks for this piece – I work supporting small and medium sized businesses where the problem is often even worse than you state in your article for larger brands. The marketer in these smaller organisations can often be the company owner or the sales manager, or someone thrust into this role as an extension of their admin role.
    Even those ‘larger’ SMEs (£5m – £20m turnover) often have a recent graduate or self-starter marketer in the role. While some are good, the majority are given little or no resources, and have no real understanding of building a strategy or social marketing.
    I don’t want to appear negative – there are some great examples of people in companies and doing it well, but in my experience that’s a very small minority.

  2. Jim Matorin

    Steve: I really enjoyed this post. To me FUD = experimentation for seasoned marketers. I am learning all the time and applying some of my pre-Web 2.0 experience to the mix, thus beginning to recognize the value of social enterprise. However, what I do struggle with is learning that my target audience are laggards when it comes to being online. Patience.

  3. Great article, Steve. You made some important points, especially that it takes an integrated strategy to have a successful social media campaign.

  4. Mike Poynton

    Hi, Steve. Wow! This post is chocked full of, “Where do I begin?”‘s. What sticks in my mind’s eye the most is my personal experience in a 3rd world country where the sun always shines, the beer is always cold, the men and women are always “hot” and every day is Saturday.

    Getting business owners to focus on who their target audience is has been a big challenge for me. They have an idea of who they want it to be, but don’t have the wherewithal to even cater to them. They’re wishing they were a 4-star, when in fact they’re only a 3-star. It’s really difficult sometimes to communicate this fact to them – to bring them into reality. And I never want to start a social marketing initiative if I’m being set up to fail.

    Have you ever run into this? How do you handle it?

    • I think you need to define exact reality. What can be accomplished and what cannot. Also, is there something that can be done to accomplish what they want … Be explicit.

      • Mike Poynton

        Thanks. Makes sense. Perhaps I need to work on my communication skills a bit. It’s about managing expectations based on the cards one holds in his/her hand. Or dealing a new one.

  5. Reblogged this on Communicatism and commented:
    A good blog post about why many business still feel fear, uncertain, and doubt on using social media. Different from any other forms of marketing, social media marketing requires a long term to see the result. However, many SME businesses do not have enough budget for this and they want to see the result immediately. This leads to the concern on using social media for business.

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