Get sucked behind the wheel!
Get sucked behind the wheel!
Don't worry about the message. It's a FREE T-shirt! It's a little scratchy? That's because it's a new fabric made from used cell phones. Cool, right? Oh, the shirt's a small and you're a large? Don't worry about it! You look great! And the tight fit goes great with our liposuction message. What do you want? It's a FREE T-shirt! ... Hey, would you mind walking back and forth in front of the TV camera at the boat show? ... Hello? ... HEY, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Free is not always good. Especially when it has to do with getting your message across, your way. One size does not fit all.
The most dangerous thing about social media is that there is no barrier to entry. We were reminded of that recently when a Consumer Reports study revealed that 7.5 million Facebook users are 13 and under. Anyone can launch a Facebook page. Do you want just anyone launching yours? The nephew who "really gets this stuff"? The intern who you'll never see again after the summer? The friend of a friend who has some cool ideas you don't quite understand?
There are people who actually know what they're doing on social media, and there are tourists who wander into it. A new study by Cornell and Yahoo! shows half of all tweets are created by 20K power users. Also noted in the study, Twitter reports that it has 175 million users. Yet 90 million of those accounts have exactly zero followers. In other words, lots of people give it a shot, give up, and junk their accounts by the side of the road. Is your business's name on some of those accounts? That's the equivalent of having a dilapidated billboard on the side of town. Doesn't look good.
The accounts that do stay active can be even more dangerous. I recently contacted an NBA franchise to ask if marketing leadership knew what was being tweeted on the team's official account by a fan who'd been placed in charge of it. No one there knew the account manager was using the account to root on his favorite team in the NFL playoffs. (Sports marketing agencies will tell you that one of the main problems for the NBA is generating interest in the regular season while the NFL playoffs are going on.) This is the kind of thing that happens when you delegate your social accounts to just anyone.
This stuff is no longer "new." Social media is not where it was a year and a half ago, when return on investment was unprovable, metrics were in a nascent phase, and few communications professionals had credentials. This is a real industry now, with excellent tools, like Radian6; real measurements, like sales directed from social media platforms via Coremetrics links; and real credentials, like experience guiding companies on social, and directing campaigns for agencies.
You get what you pay for. If you want professional social media, you need to pay a professional to do it. There is a paradox (I'm biting my tongue not say "hypocrisy") among business people who simultaneously scoff that social media companies and campaigns don't make money -- and yet refuse to invest any real resources or manpower in those areas. If you want to make an omelet, you've got to break some eggs.
How do you find good, qualified social media people? Ask. We are a talkative bunch. We will tell you that here in Charlotte, longtime PR and web guy Brandon Uttley and social media search guy Roy Morejon have just launched a promising and polished digital marketing agency, that enlightened ad man Jim Mitchem runs a great virtual agency, that Dani Burns and the Social Media Charlotte crowd help to organize social expertise in this town, that the Blumenthal's social media is excellent, that WCNC meteorologist Brad Panovich is tops in media on Twitter, that Queens U. prof Mac McArthur "gets it" from the academic side, that local product Jason Keath takes his Social Fresh events national, that hardworking Genevieve Jooste does right by her clients... (I told you we were talkative.)
And we will also tell you what we think about the Charlotte-based sales guru who is suddenly making a lot of noise on social media, the digital marketing franchise using pyramid sales techniques, the social professional who poaches other people's clients out from under them, and the old-time agencies trying to act spry by adding a young person to do social.
First, take off that FREE T-shirt. Let's get you something that fits, with your message on it.