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Are we indeed "poorly trained idiots" for relying on social media?

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Are we indeed "poorly trained idiots" for relying on social media?

Not my words, but I won't disagree with the essence of what is being said either. Social media and digital video are just two examples of the simple quick-fix approaches too often put forward as the foundation of too many digital marketing campaigns.

Marketing is not solely about digital! In fact, if you start thinking digital as a marketing consultant you are already short-changing your client. Mark Ritson argues that, in fact, some marketing executives of companies are so afraid of the being perceived as “out of touch”, that to mention TV or print over social media is seen as a “CLM” (Career Limiting Move).

Prof Mark Robson, whose presentation (shown below) offers a view that is controversial and peppered with colourful language.He is recognised as a leading authority around the world on the subject of marketing. His presentations, from London to Melbourne, are always packed and invariably invite considerable debate both during and after. Having watched the following I was given to writing this post offering my own views

So are we relying too much on social media?

How often have you had a marketing consultant advise you NOT to spend your time on social media as opposed to the list of social based tactics you are advised to pursue? I would suggest that it is very rare. For the vast majority of SME businesses, the ever so boring solution to their marketing needs seems to rely on social media and very few owners ever questioned this decision.

Reasons given for being active on social media given by consultants includes things such as:

  • Building your brand.
  • Exposure to a broader market segments.
  • Customer engagement.
  • Promotion of your products and services.
  • Seeking customer endorsement.
  • Managing your reputation.
  • Sharing of information.

And why wouldn't you? After all, look at all those staggering statistics about how many users there are on the Internet, the size of Facebook, the number of hourly tweets on Twitter, time the average person spends on social media and how frequently we all use social media. There are endless statistics to support their case that they all appear impressive. Needless to say, they all substantiate of your decision to go down the path of actively running a marketing campaign driven by social media.

However, let's take a closer look at things and let’s do so with our eyes open and our minds open even wider…

Social Media and Branding

If we look at the top 10 brands in Australia (see below) you will see that when looking at the percentage of followers expressed as a percentage of the actual customer base, the numbers are shown that this little correlation between social media and brand value.


Further support for this is revealed in the 20116 research by Sensis, where they have identified that 64% of Australians do not follow any social network group associated with a company or brand.

Market Exposure

If 64% of social media users don't follow companies or brands, then you might need to rethink your strategies and tactics as to how you are expecting to penetrate new markets or build on your current base. You could possibly look closely at the age demographic of your target market or consider what form of communication they prefer to use as the basis of creating market awareness rather than blindly assuming they are interested in you because you have a social profile. Understand how the different age groups vary between one another in these areas.

Promoting Products and Services

If you’re looking to social media as your primary tactic for promoting products and services, then you will need to consider the special offers you can put on the table. According to Sensis,

  • 41% of people want discounts
  • 30% seek giveaways
  • 26% expect Coupons
  • 30% have the expectation of exclusive offers available to them thru social media

Reputation Management

Whilst not as strong as it is in the US, seeking confirmation or endorsement of the company and its products and services through reviews is becoming more and more significant here in Australia. The challenge for the business is in managing such reviews. Identifying when such reviews are being placed, where they are placed and what is being said on so many different public review sites that are now available is not something that has been given a lot of attention up to now. Placement of reviews goes far beyond simply looking at Facebook, the Yelp or Google with your customer able to leave reviews on over 75 renowned review sites around the world. Some ae solely Australian focussed but the majority have a global presence.

Sharing of Information

This could be anything from information about the company, tips and advice from your industry or simply just providing information about your products and services. What is interesting to note is that seeking such information through social media has dropped 25% to 35% over the past five years across all of these areas. This would seem to indicate that social users are looking for this back on your website rather than in social media itself.

Remarketing and Ads

An aspect of marketing all businesses should consider is that of remarketing. This is where ads are placed within webpages visible to viewers based on your browsing history and personal interests. Social media makes strong use of this for placing sponsored posts and Ads within your feed. Nielsen data shows that only 46% of people trust ads served on social networks, yet 63% trust ads served on TV and another 60% trust ads are in print media. Obviously, the value placed on such ads by viewers in digital streams is not as high as in the more traditional media streams.

So Is Digital For the Future?

Of course it is, only a fool would think otherwise, but it is not our only choice nor is it the salvation to all marketing plans.

In considering your marketing it is essential to look at your opportunities holistically being sure to consider the best tactics appropriate to your business and your market.

Some may read this article and believe I'm not in favour of social media. This is not the case at all. What I do suggest however is that business owners should first, consider their broader needs and only then should they consider the role that digital and social media, in particular, has to play in the overall strategies. Do so in reference to your own brand, the market and available resources. Gain a clear understanding of realistic expectations from social media and other digital tactics. Understand that what works for one business, may not necessarily apply to your own.

Food for thought…

  • Only 5% at best of your Facebook friends and followers will be shown your posts
  • Only 45% of marketers think that their Facebook effort is effective
  • Linkedin is the only social platform where usage by 30 – 49 year-olds is greater than 18 to 29 year-olds
  • 71% of Pinterest users are women
  • Whilst just as likely to purchase from other social platforms, Pinterest users spend 50% more based on what they see on Pinterest as opposed to other channels
  • 60% of small business owners are unable to track ROI from their social media activities
  • Only 42% marketers are ABLE to measure their social activities
  • Those that re telling us that social media is important (92% of marketers) have a vested interest in saying so.

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Here we discuss the various aspects of Internet Marketing as it applies to the design of web sites, what it is, why you should be actively engaged in it and some tips on how you might be able to go about developing and implementing your own internet marketing strategy when designing your website.

This post is original content presented by Top Left Designs, a web design and digital marketing agency based in Southport on the Gold Coast and servicing clients in the Gold Coast and Brisbane regional area. Top Left Designs sets out to remove the frustration and confusion faced by business owners seeking to maximise the return on the website investment by providing a comprehensive web solution to their business needs.