Social media is the current zeitgeist. Everyone’s interested in what it can do for their business, but I’m sure that most people who want to use it for business gain don’t really understand it in the slightest. Nevertheless, everyone feels compelled to talk about it, to read about it, to find out about it, to talk about it some more and to consider how it can be put into practice in their business. It reminds me a bit of people’s obsession to have an Intel® Pentium® processor in their PC (back when Apple wasn’t king) without having the foggiest what it was or what it did. It certainly isn’t the done thing to say that social media isn’t relevant. So, let me break the taboo and say it: “social media isn’t relevant!” (at least not for everyone, everything and every time)
I want to provide some comfort to those who feel like they’re being left behind and that they’re consequently missing a trick. Do not be afraid! The growth of social media certainly doesn’t herald the end for traditional marketing techniques. Ads, brochures, direct mail, promotions, experiential, press releases and so on continue to be equally relevant parts of the marketing mix.
The jury is still out on just how effective social media can be as a marketing tool anyway, and the answer is no doubt various shades of grey, so there’s certainly no urgency to dive in and just start doing it in an uninformed manner, thinking that something is better than nothing. Quite the opposite, in fact; you should only consider a foray into social media with 1) a well-considered strategy in place; and 2) the appropriate resources, either in-house or externally, to put a sustained effort behind it (both of which, incidentally, we can and have helped our clients with). Dabbling will doubtless do more harm than good and will, at the very least, be a drain on resources that could have been deployed more effectively on ‘traditional’ marketing techniques.
There will always be audiences who won’t touch social media with a bargepole; it strikes me that selling retirement homes might be one such example – a one off purchase and a non-social audience (even the middle aged sons or daughters who might be making the decision).
The principle of ‘understand your audience and give them what they want’ has never and will never change. The media landscape changes, but consumers tend to react in very different ways to that. Not everyone will jump on every bandwagon, so don’t be distracted by what you don’t know. Focus instead on what you do. I’m not saying to ignore social media, or that it doesn’t have a place, but don’t be afraid to conclude that it isn’t right for your business or your audience, at least for now.
So, don’t be drawn in by what’s shiny and new. Believe in the power of traditional marketing and focus on that until you have the resources and a considered, proven social strategy that will work for you. If you’re still yearning for knowledge and discussion on social media, why not attend our free seminar on 20th September? But, whether it’s traditional marketing or cutting edge social media techniques you’re interested in, we’d love to talk to you about your business challenges and provide some guidance on just which weapon is going to be the most powerful to deploy.