We’re all for trumpeting the new opportunities that social media has created for business marketing; there’s never been anything remotely as large and accessible in the whole of marketing history as the market provided by social media sites right now. But. For most SMEs, it certainly hasn’t made life easier.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated social media manager in your organisation, it’s likely that your marketing or communications manager looks a little bit more haggard when the subject of social media comes up, and here’s why:
1. Nothing Else Went Away.
Savvy marketers know that social media is part of the marketing MIX. It has certainly had an impact on the effectiveness and audience size for many other marketing channels, but unfortunately for your workload, none of the “traditional” channels is dead just yet.
Depending on your target audience, you may still need to deal with print advertising in your local paper AND radio adverts AND Facebook AND press releases AND Pinterest. When the telephone came along, everyone didn’t immediately give up sending things through the post; and so it is with social media.
2. Social Media has made consumers more demanding.
On all fronts, but especially around what they’re prepared to engage with in terms of marketing material. Social media is so much more of a personalised experience, and so much easier to tailor to reflect exactly what interests them – each Twitter timeline will be a unique combination of content, for example – that they’re no longer as tolerant of irrelevant content, or material presented in an uninteresting way.
This is bad news for marketing departments who used to get away with printing one newsletter which went to a wide spectrum of business types; if the content doesn’t become more tailored to the interests of each sector, it’s going to hit the bin that much faster.
3. The constant change.
Think about the world ten years ago: if you’d mastered the art of writing a press release, or creating compelling print adverts, you only had to figure that out once. Then it was a tick in the box marked “newspapers” and just keep improving the content. Social media on the other hand, has more complex functionality to master in the first place, and then tends to change enormously in the span of a few months.
The recent change to the Facebook algorithm is a great example; to continue getting results, most marketers have had to go for a complete change of strategy in terms of leveraging paid media rather than just building an audience and providing solid content. And those new functions, again, come with a learning curve to use them effectively.
So for all the opportunities social media offers, next time you see your marketing manager looking drained, have some sympathy for them – their job is quite definitely harder than it used to be!