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Sue Bartholomew

I'm with you all the way! Social media is a tool but it like all tos needs to have a measurable purpose!

Sherry M

Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thanks you!!! I was beginning to think I was the only one out there who felt this way.

I won't get started here . . . but would love to hear what others have to say, as well.

Greg

I can't help noticing that the major ad buyers--Coke comes to my mind--are using all of those traditional ad vehicles in an attempt to drive consumers to their FB or other social media sites.

When I go to look, there isn't much there. I figure that if they haven't figured out a good way to use it, I am sure not going to top them messing around with the very limited time I have.

I did some work on FB around Amex's Small Business Saturday. I got no response, though I seem to have amassed a substantial number of friends & folks who "like" my business, and Amex was offering a $25 invoice credit to anyone patronizing a registered business.

I read something today written by an architect on the subject of Green Building. He commented that his firm was taking a wait-and-see attitude about the plethora of new products that were being marketed to comply with Green standards. They would not specify a material until it had been successfully marketed and used for 5 years.

This made me think about my position on social networking. I am in wait-and-see mode, and will stay there until there is a compelling need not to. But every day, I have to make this decision again because the rest of the world seems so worked up about it.

(In the interest of full-disclosure, I also didn't see the potential of the internet back when AOL was new).

I have a few acquaintances who keep telling me it is the future. But when I ask for specifics about building their businesses, so far, no one has a concrete example. I think they are personally sold on it and love doing it, but that is not the same as building business.

This is one party I do not mind being late to.

Jim

I'm mostly B2B. LinkedIn has been OK, but too many of the threads are either started or quickly dominated by people trying to sell something. While the connections have been pretty good, the social aspect of it is sorely lacking.
Just launched a new blog and created a corresponding LinkedIn group. Hoping to drive opt-ins and conversation with great content.

Bill Fetter

Don't completely discount what Vaynerchuk has to say until you've read his book "The Thank You Economy" in which explains and gives case studies regarding practical and effective ways to leverage social media and why it can be a powerful tool. He also explains many ways not to use it. I am a skeptic just like you, but I believe that social media can be a reasonable and useful piece of the marketing mix, we just cannot assume it will replace everything else.

Shane Zeppelin

I look at Social Media as a specialized utensil in the kitchen of marketing. It's sort of like the food processor that everyone says "does it all", but after a few times using it, you come to realize that it does a couple things really well, but you keep going back to the potato peeler because you know it works for the job you need it to every time.

Yes, use Social Media for how it's intended to be used - interaction with your customers in a fun way, announcing new products, showing off photos of your business or product that don't fit in other marketing materials, and generally reminding your fans that you are still here (top of mind). But don't give up on all the other tools and put all your eggs in the one basket. It's just another tool that keeps you in front of people to remind them to look for you elsewhere. Spend a little a time on it, but don't get lost in it.

Greg Smith

I just attended the AEM Marketing Council Seminar. Too much emphasis on social media. It's not for everyone. I agree with you Steve Miller. Social media is a lot of "vaynerchuk" (bad advice)!

Frosting Fran

Thank you for your article. I moderate our small business' FB pages. Many of our visitors simply engage by clicking "like". But at least it's a response and I know I reached them. Each FB page has its own subculture. What works for one group does not necessarily work for another. You have to know your audience. Not all audiences WILL be reached via social media, no matter how aggressively you use it, because not all want to be reached that way. Social media has both pros and cons. Give your audience a reason to engage with you and they will, whether or not you're on f,t,in or etc.

Kirstie Bennett

My feeling is that it is important to use social media regularly, but as one of the blog respondents says, not to get lost in it. I know I have customers who follow me on various social media vehicles so I keep my participation regular and I do have a system of sorts to make sure that I keep up with the ones I want to. With regard to measurable results, Linkedin works best for me, hands down. But even using Linkedin requires a combination of marketing approaches inlcuding phone calls, letters, print marketing follow-up materials, and so forth.For some it requires follow up in live networking groups. I don't think anything works well in a vacuum. For example, if I run a special for "Likes" on Facebook I need to advertise it in the newsletter and feature it on the FB newsfeed on my web site's home page. I believe in taking social media seriously, but in the context of a wider approach to marketing. http://www.framersworkshop.com

Josh Pocock

Social media for B2C is a great concept, and as a consumer I get several coupons and product notifications from Facebook pages that I like.

However, in the B2B world, I see us having a social media presence as a complete waste of time. And I am 29 and very active on Twitter and Facebook in my personal life.

Ps. Was always a fan, but your shot at Fox News made me like you even more, Ha!

Adam

Great article!

We are debating the same issues as an agency representing 12 small businesses in a rural area of NC.

All we hear lately is "GM stopped advertising so we should too!" We aren't GM. We don't spend $30+ MILLION on facebook and we arent a huge faceless company trying to get people to buy $40,000 products.

We use facebook to connect to customers but do a poor job of it since it gets used as one more place to post ads instead of a place to TALK with our customers.

I agree with both sides of this argument. It cant be your only marketing strategy but you simply can't ignore its potential either.

Scott Hasson

When you're right, you're right, Steve. It all goes back to knowing your customer. Where is your target audience? If they live in the social media sphere, you need to be there as well. However, you need to have a strategy going into it. Without that, you're lost. A very good book on social media strategy is Groundswell by Charline Lee. It reiterates exactly what Steve is saying in much more detail. Cheers.

Amy

So I agree yet disagree with some of your comments. I understand and totally agree that social media is a tool and I do also agree with many of the comments from your fellow followers that too many people put too much enphasis on it that shouldn't. I work in the construction industry, and our biggest issue is that we feel that many of our end users are still "good-old boys" who wont embrace the smart phones and other outlets. However, some of our customers are very interested in the latest technology. So we must keep a good mix of media with print ads and electronic advertising.

But to switch to another topic that I would love some insight on - our main problem with our company is that we don't know HOW to WRITE for web. There is a huge difference is technical writing on the web and social media outlets vs. your personal facebook account. So how do you learn to write correctly to really engage your audience? Especially when many companies have such an array of different personalities reading their information?

Chris Gray

I wholeheartedly agree with you Steve. As a marketing and sales person in a small business I need to focus on things that can show ROI in a measurable way that directly affects our bottom line. For some strange reason my boss insists on it. I feel that social media might be okay for major companies such as Coke or Nike that have people that are dedicated to working solely on projects like that and have a very wide audience/customer base. For a small business that sells specialized products to a very niche market, we don't have the time or resources to devote to something that requires as much work as it does to maintain a presence in social media, nor do we necessarily want to attract that type of attention that 99% of the time only creates unwanted responses that wastes even more time replying to "customers" that are just curious about what we do, not ever intending to purchase our products. One other thing that confuses me about using social media is that I think businesses can easily get lost in a place that is more designed for social activities than business. For example when I visit Facebook because I followed a link from a company, I quickly find myself checking my own wall to see what my friends are up to and completely forget why I was there in the first place. Companies even try advertising in places like YouTube, and when I go to watch one of their videos I am again quickly drawn to watching a cat run into a sliding glass door (or whatever). I may be a bit ADHD in that respect, but with todays flood of information and places to go to get that information I think society as whole is becoming that way. But maybe that is a topic for another day. Someday maybe someone can give me measurable proof that drinking the kool-ade actually works, but in the meantime I think I will stick to the traditional methods of directly contacting my customers or potential customers and leave the social media to doing what it was originally intended to do - find out what my friend did on their vacation last week.

Alan Robezzoli

Steve,
Thanks for having the guts to voice your opinion in a "politically incorrect" way -- not many have the courage to point out that the emperor has no clothes!

Social media is one of many tools, and often a severe time drain with little return if not approached strategically rather than spontaneously. In my opinion the best social media approach is blogging in such a way that your blog posts are written using a keyword-driven strategy ultimately resulting in driving traffic to your website. These keyword-driven blog posts can then be shared on social media, with everything linking back to a blog that is preferably built into the company's website where leads can be generated and/or transactions completed, depending on the type of business.

As you implied, strategy is not a bad word, but a good thing!

If anyone is interested in learning more about this keyword-driven blogging, social media, and web design strategy, please see http://www.PowerMarketingInternational.com for details. While you're there, please check out the PMI Hierarchy of Web Design Effectiveness, which includes social media and other types of marketing in the web design strategy.

Again, thanks for your bold approach, Steve. When I grow up I want to be just like you!

Mary Chisholm

Our company is B:B and in a niche market in the industrial sector. As such we neither have the time nor the resources to monitor social media. We still rely on the telephone to talk to our customers and use email extensively to keep the conversation going. We see some of them face to face at tradeshows. We don't use FaceBook or Linkedin as a company. We have a YouTube Channel and are using that to post videos from our tradeshows linked from our website. I can see social media in B:C being very effective but our customers, while they may use Social Media personally and their companies may as well, as far as I know currently they are not using it to interact and/or find us. It's overwhelming as a small company with all of the non face-to-face communication taking place out there. Guess I'm of the opinion that I will keep aware and let the dust settle while trying to determine what will work for our company and our current and future customers. Steve I appreciate your shedding the light of straight talk on this so that we can see more clearly. Ultimately we all have to decide where Social Media fits into our marketing mix - or not.

Donna

I agree 100%, though think I'm not using social media as well as I should be for the purpose it really serves....building RELATIONSHIPS and telling stories. Also 100% with you on the Fox News statement (tee hee!)

Garyvee

I dont know if u saw on twitter but I spoke with the person that wrote that and a ton was taken out of context

Garyvee

I wish all of you were at my talk, it stunning how out of context my wording was taken, I wish u did some homework and asked me some details :)

Niall Devitt

Great post, social is a tool as are the other forms of advertising that you have mentioned. It's the businesses (or actually the people) that make them work or not. There is no one size fits all approach but I believe that virtually every business can get value with the right approach. Thanks for sharing over at Bizsugar.

David Frey - MarketingBlogger.com

Steve, he's actually right...about social media. (and I hate to say that cause I don't like Gary V....well, I don't like the language he uses...it makes him look dumb.)

Social media is a form of content marketing and is passive in nature. Social media concentrates on building an audience, not on selling to that audience.

(I'm not talking about paid ads on Facebook or Twitter...I'm talking about following, friending, and promulgating your content on social media.)

Your email newsletter or blog can do that for you. But the goal of social media is to create a big audience and then get that audience onto a medium where it is appropriate to sell (again, like an email newsletter or blog).

So YOU are right in that small businesses major goal is to get customers, but social media's major goal is to build an audience and in THAT medium, you don't do it through any type of pitching or selling.

Angela

I have been in marketing for about 15 years and have been trained in the traditional marketing aspects of business. I do agree with the idea of social media being a tool that is used with multiple areas of business. In addition I currently work in the manufacturing, B2B industry which has many ideas about social media good and bad. BUT............. What I think is very funny about this blog and/or article is it is being done in SOCIAL MEDIA! In addition it states how affect that last blog entry was (meaning it is being tracked). It seems social media Koolaid is working great in this aspect. It is hard to take advice from someone who doesn't practice what he preaches!

Steve Miller

Be careful, Angela, and read everything I wrote. I never said not to use social media at all. Do you see that somewhere? In fact, I was emphatic there are many roads to the top of the mountain and that all tools work for somebody. My argument is to the people with the attitude that social media is this killer marketing app. It's not. You'll also notice I don't use my blog as a social media tool. It's a newsletter, published only occasionally. I mentioned my other post was my highest read. Gee, that's nice and it feeds my ego, but it doesn't feed my family. Did I say I cashed a big check from it? I use social media at a minimum level. No more, no less. And until I see it working differently, that's what I will continue to do. And since this is the type of advice you don't want to hear and you're not willing to share your full name, I'd suggest you look somewhere else.

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