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Why You Can't 'Just Want Social Media'
“I just want social media.” I hear this all the time. I meet people at networking events or conferences or at my favorite coffee shops, they find out I’m in marketing, and they get really excited. They tell me how they know they need marketing, and then I get the dreaded question ‘Do you do social media?’
It’s not that I’m anti-social media, I think that all of the social channels are great marketing tools. But I hate this question because I know where it’s going. I explain that I do social media strategy, as a part of brand identity and marketing strategy, and that I’m happy to connect them with an agency who will do the actual posting and monitoring. And 9 out of 10 times I am met with a shrug as they say ‘Oh, well, I don’t need any branding, I just need social media.’
This begs the question, if I know how to do social media (and I do), and someone is willing to pay me to do social media for them (and they are), why am I turning them away?
Do you remember the scene from Monty Python where he loses all his limbs and says “It’s just a flesh wound”? This is the phrase that immediately circulates in my brain when I face this ever-present social media conversation.
Social Media without strategy is like putting a band-aid on a missing limb. It may accomplish something, it gets your name out there, it gets some content out there- but without strategy, without a brand, it will never yield the fruit you’re looking for.
Experience has proven that any form of marketing, including social media, needs solid thought and strategy behind it. If there is no strategy, if you don’t know who you’re trying to talk to, you won’t reach them. This is why so many businesses hire and fire new marketing agencies every few months. There is no shortage of marketing professionals who gladly post whatever it is the client wants, but part of my brand is integrity and I believe in doing things well and right.
I know that while I could spin out social media content, it won’t accomplish anything. It could be amazing content, but it won’t translate into business growth and eventually the client will be upset with me and we will part ways and they will repeat the exact same cycle with another agency. I don’t feel right asking my clients to throw away money, which is essentially what they are doing; and I don’t feel right about throwing away my time and expertise either.
In a short-term mindset, it is absolutely cheaper and quicker to hire an agency to post some stuff on Facebook and Instagram for you. But if the only reason you are posting to Facebook is because you think you should be posting to Facebook, you’re investing a lot of your time and money into a platform that is likely eating your dollars.
Social Media is just a tool. Using it without strategy is like saying “I don’t want a blueprint, I just need the hammer.” Before you start banging around, take the time to think through what it is you’re trying to build.