Social Media: The means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
Social media has been around for a while, and a few years ago it took off as the 'next big thing' with the rise of Facebook and Twitter. Although they are not the only ones around they are the most commonly referred to. Social media can be a wonderful tool, and I've seen it work wonders for some of my clients however it can be very difficult to do well.
There a couple of problems with social media:
- It does not, and will not work for everyone. As a rule of thumb, it doesn't generally work B2B although there are occasional exceptions. Not every business is meant to be social - as much as people like to share, they don't want to share everything - you need to be aware of that!
- It will never be your sole source of marketing, albeit there are some small businesses that can start purely on Facebook - but eventually you will need other forms of marketing such as a website, email marketing campaign, Google AdWords, print advertising etc.
- Social Media is not cheap - it can be done cheaply and it canbe 'cheaper' than other forms of advertising, but to be done well it requires significant investment - whether it is design fees to create graphics, promoting posts on Facebook, Facebook advertising or CRM to integrate it into your database marketing.
- It is really difficult to track the success and monitor Facebook - yes their analytics are brilliant, but to accurately track and analyse the results from Facebook is much harder.
Anyone who uses Facebook regularily will claim that Facebook marketing is easy and that anyone can do it, however when you get into the nuts and bolts of what makes social media successful there is a lot more strategy and thinking that needs to go into it!
Photo Credit: khalid Albaih via Compfight cc