This week, the Ad Contrarian blog put out a provocative post entitled The Slow Painful Collapse of the Social Media Fantasy.
There are some interesting points in there and I’d urge you to read it if you haven’t. But, as is typical with any single article, headline, or tweet, we often overstate our case.
And regularly throw the baby out with the bathwater, either intentionally or inadvertently.
The crux of the post is that social media has been oversold, particularly as a way to generate sales. And there’s a legitimate angle discussed. But lest people get the idea that social media as a whole is a total waste, let me re-title that post to reflect more accurately what it’s actually saying:
The Slow Painful Collapse of the Fantasy that Social Media Marketing will Likely Lead to Measurable Immediate Transactional Sales Results for Some Large Brands.
Now, let’s think about the rest of the business world.
No, social media (and social media marketing) is not on a death spiral. But if we are to understand what success looks like, we can’t just look at immediate transactions, large brands, and measurable customer acquisition.
My friend Tom Martin, in yesterday’s Twitter #DayChat, posed a topic question that led to this exchange:
The thing is, there are multiple ways that social media can be effective and useful, whether the purpose is transactional or not. It’s not all about customer acquisition for big brands.
So, here’s an example from just last week. I stayed at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. Being overly digital-geeky, I decided to use on-line platforms and people to find a good local restaurant. Hello, Steve – the concierge desk is right in the lobby! Nonetheless, this is what happened…
I was already a “customer” in that I was staying there (for the first time). But now am I going to have a bias toward the Park Plaza because of this kind of “presence” and helpfulness in the realm where I like to reside – social media? Of course.
And now, you might too. I put on my marketing hat and think: win! (Davios was a very nice restaurant, by the way. My Boston food expert, Lou Imbriano, confirms! Win for them too…)
This is social media marketing for the long haul; and when you look at measures of effectiveness such as reputation, customer-helpfulness, gaining attention – it’s a win.
Be careful of those who dismiss social media marketing because a specific success measure, for a specific type of client, during a specific period of time, has a questionable ROI. There’s a whole lot more to this baby than immediate sales transactions!
Related blog post: A Customer Service Story with a Gaping Void in the Middle of it
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