Getting Social Isn’t an End-Goal, Improving Your Business Is

Scrambling to develop social marketing tactics? Slow down and ask yourself why. If the answer isn’t clear and directly connected to your overall business goals it’s time to take a step back.

Social media platforms provide businesses with an incredible amount of information and opportunities. Every company senses there’s gold in them there hills. But while it’s easy to get caught up in the race for friends and followers, it’s important to remember that social success doesn’t necessarily translate into business success. As Jay Baer puts it, “The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media.”

That’s the sentiment that Jon Gatrell urges you to keep in mind as you develop your own social marketing strategy. Social is just part of the marketing mix, he argues, and any campaign should be rooted in business goals, not social goals. In order to leverage social to drive business benefits effectively you need to make sure you can tie every effort back to measurable goal-oriented impact and gains.

For more on why your social strategy should be informed by your business strategy, as well as examples of companies who are doing social right, read Gatrell’s full post.

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photo by: Ionics

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  • Anonymous

    Full disclosure up front on my comment, I’m the CEO of mBLAST so I have a direct interest in this area, but I think your entry above could use a little expansion on the idea.

    The first act of a “social media strategy” shouldn’t be “how can I use social media”, as that thought is very complicated and requires a lot of follow-up and effort if you’re looking for, say, a brand strategy on Facebook or Twitter. It should instead be “how can I use social media to hear what…” and here is the key part “my customers or potential customers are talking about”. Let what I just said sink in for a moment as you realize this is completely backwards from the way most people approach the subject.

    After my direct experience building a business analytics and monitoring platform, and using the platform to look at how best to use it and market it, it’s pretty obvious that the use of these data, at first, is to find your customers and listen to them. Find the people who are interested in what you have to offer, and the subject matters that surround your product, and use that to make your product and your strategy appealing to them instead of trying to design a campaign as you would in the traditional way. If you do this, it will feed into your product strategy, your customer service strategy, and your overall market penetration strategy and you don’t have to do a thing but *listen*.

    Once you’ve done that, you can begin to engage. Find where people talk about these subjects the most (it may NOT be where you think), find out who talks about them, and then begin to engage in a thoughtful way. Engage in forums, like this one and like I’m doing now. Tweet useful information. Prepare a brand page for people to talk about your product that reflects the interests and tastes of your audience and people will go there organically if your product is something that attracts a lot of social-type commentary (some do not).

    But the clear use for any company looking at social media isn’t at first a campaign, it’s a listening post and a direct line to customers and potential customers. This is why we designed our product and platform the way we did. We used our own tools to listen and adjust and we still do. There is no better way to listen to or understand what your customers want than finding articles, blog posts, and social media posts that pertain to the problem or the subject your product addresses. And that should be the first order of business for anyone trying to understand how to effectively use social media…or any online media.