Social Media Marketing: If Your Bet Is “Data” You Are Doing It Wrong

Social media has turned into one of the major tools for marketers across industries. Whether you market B2C or B2B, social media is one of the major channels marketers use. Social media appears to be a very complex tool and the majority of those active on the various platforms are still struggling to maximize their efforts and increase ROI’s.

Social Media Is People Business

When reading about strategies used in the social media marketing world, one road to success seems to be analyzing data. “Big Data” almost became a household word in marketing. Talking to marketers also reveals the close connection between marketing and crunching numbers. While analyzing data is not a wrong thing to do in marketing outside of social media, if you try to analyze data for social media marketing purposes, you will analyze yourself to death.  There are several reasons for that:

  • Social Media is fast paced. What people read today is old tomorrow.
  • Data and the result of crunching it is yesterday, at best.
  • Data is created by people that browse all over the place for all kind of things and for all kind of reasons and in many cases without any target.
  • Most important, social media is people business and requires personal attention.

Social media, marketing and data is big stuff and it is not easy to explain big stuff in a few words. In order to do so anyway, I usually use a simple example about the automotive industry that can easily be transferred to other industries. Have a look:

A car dealership has the cars they sell displayed in a showroom. Imagine a potential buyer walks in and looks around. Rather than approaching the person in a classical way by your sales staff, you have someone sitting around watching what the potential customer looks at. Looking at model A for 3 minutes, looking at model B for 2 minutes and looking at model C for 5 minutes. After the potential customer has done so, he/she leaves. The same procedure repeats itself for 9 more times. After the last prospect has left, you have data of 10 potential buyers. Great! Do you really believe this is the way for lead generation and sales?

Do You Staff Showrooms?

In order to draw the connection between this example and social media marketing, marketers, or CEO’s and CMO’s must understand that their social media platforms, whichever it is, is their showroom. If you display and post on Facebook, then Facebook is your showroom. If you display your products on You Tube, then You Tube is your showroom. If you are also on Twitter, Pinterest and others, congratulations, you have multiple showrooms. Do you staff showrooms?

I have spent the most part of my professional life in sales, business development and marketing. On the sales and business development side I have been on the end of many miserable marketing campaigns. One of the reasons why many campaigns were miserable, “data” was outdated. Prospect moved, already bought somewhere else, not interested anymore, time since inquiry and approach too long and a few others were the most collected responses. Yes, some bought, but that could have been accomplished easier, cheaper and faster.

“Data” Will Always Be Of Minor Support In Social Media Marketing

When it comes to social media marketing, “data” will always be of minor support and not the major sales driver. Looking at the efforts of marketers and companies with showrooms in social media, sometimes one has the impression “we would rather not sell”.  Today, companies want to streamline their operations and in many cases streamlining means firing rather than hiring. With progress in technology, many companies made good experiences in laying off people and implementing technology that was able to do the job with minimal supervision. This approach will not work in social media marketing, if the campaigns are measured by returns, sales, leads and brand recognition.

Success in social media marketing and creating ROI in hard dollars means you must employ people. There is no substitute. If you have a showroom on any social media platform, you must staff it, with real people that know what they are doing when communicating with prospects. If you employ people that know what they do when representing your company and products, you will be successful.

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8 Responses

  1. Jolie B says:

    Spot on you are!

  2. Charles Rein says:

    Great report. In many companies the Marketing people say they created campaign that drove people and business to $$$’s, but in most B2C sales it is the sales people who turned sales into a 10 customer to 1 sale transaction. And the top sales people will get those number’s to 5 customer leads to 1 sale, not because the leads got better, but because the sale person and customer interaction got better

    • V. says:

      Good one, Charles. The problem with the marketing people is that in the most cases they don’t know about sales and they don’t know about people. Besides being creative, their job is to crunch numbers and data. Admitted and experienced, that works to a point, but they have no clue what they are NOT making in sales and dollars. They run a campaign and celebrate the little that comes out of it. Too bad.

  3. Interesting point fo view. People and engagement are probably most important, but data in my view is important too.

    Cheers from Germany

    Hansjörg
    http://www.der-bank-blog.de

  4. Joan-FindingLeads4U says:

    Sales Team, CEO and Financial Teams will have to understand Social Media, to understand the data, and collaborate together. Data is important to an extent since if you don’t know where you are coming from, how do you know where you are going?

    I agree with the terminology of ‘Showrooms’ being administered by the correct staff, unless assistants are properly versed and trained there could be problems coming your way. Would you endanger your business with a team member not knowing the business?

    Online and Offline marketing with the correct backup procedures remain the same.

    • theheidelberger says:

      Thanks for your comment, Joan! I agree with you on who should be involved, but not with what. The reality is very often the CEO has no clue what social media is, the financial team approves the budget, the sales team is not asked and the guy sitting with it is a numbers cruncher (data cruncher) and his/her staff has never even sold a sausage. Look at the Facebook pages or Twitter accounts of big brands, 100000’s of likers and followers, 1000’s of people liking and rt posts and engagement is next to zip. But they all make note who liked which post and from where they did it. That’s idiotic. Until they have the data complete the topic of the post people liked is out. Social media should deliver more than the rate of an email campaign.

  1. August 31, 2013

    […] Social Media Marketing – If Your Bet Is “Data” You Are Doing It Wrong. […]

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