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Why bother with social media?

Mark P and Shaun debate Social Media... is there any point doing it?

Shaun -
So I have been getting asked a lot by clients about if they should be on Facebook, or Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest etc. There are so many different ones!

And also, they keep asking if we will just pop a Facebook icon on their website, or a Twitter icon. And then we do it, and it links off to a terrible Facebook site, with 10 likes, or a Twitter page that is never used!

Mark P -
Yeah, yeah, the problem is that everyone is saying that you should be involved in social media. Everywhere you look, whether its in the news, or tech blogs, or articles or wherever, they are all saying 'you should be on social media' with most of it being Facebook or Twitter.

And people see that and think 'oh yeah we will get on Twitter, we will get on Facebook!' and then thats it, there is no strategy, or thought given to who is actually going to be responsible for that social media presence.

Shaun -
Yeah, and what I am finding is that so many clients are totally underestimating the comittment that is involved in Facebook and Twitter. Any social media, requires a lot of time on their part, and they need to genuinly understand it and enjoy it.

If it is totally alien to a client, I try to dissuade them from doing it, unless they are passionate about it themselves.

Mark P -
They have got to be comfortable with it.

They have to be able to use it. It helps if they are using it themselves, they have a much better idea of how the networking actually happens, that certaintly helps people out.

But then there are 100's of social networks. I mean we talk about the main ones, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, those kind of ones are the main. But then you have other ones, like Flickr, which is all photo content, and aspects like that. So each network has it's own unique benefits and audience.

And how you talk to your audience on one platform, will not be how you talk to them on another.

Shaun -
Yeah, I think that's the other important thing. Once a client does decide to use social media, the need to decide which one is best, and then stick to just one or two, doing it well. Rather than having all five icons accross their website and doing them all poorly.

Mark P -
And you can do it as a gradual process. You can say, 'right. I am going to start with a relatively simple one' like Twitter, where there is not a huge time commitment, because you're only making relatively small updates.

And then you can steadily build that up. Then, when you have got Twitter nailed, try exploring the Facebook side of things.

Shaun -
That's a good way of doing it.

Mark P -
It's all about content generation too. The worst situation is you set up Facebook, you set up Twitter, and you are then thinking 'what do I say?'. You need to have some sort of content plan too. Whether that is news about your industry or business, if it's relevant to your audience, or if it's new products or something you are doing, like events you are attending.

Shaun -
I agree, you have got to have a clear purpose, definitely, there is no doubt about that!

There is no point doing it, just for the sake of it. I think you have to have a clear purpose as to why you're on Facebook and what you want to get out of it. Because there are lots of benefits, it's a great marketing tool, you can talk to your customers better than ever before, you can engage with people, you can try to spread the word virally... There are all these benefits, but you have to have a clear purpose.

And I think it, Facebook especially, is not for everybody. The same applies to Twitter. It depends on what you are selling and who you are targetting.

Mark P -
If it is just business to business, Facebook is pointless for you. Maybe Twitter, but most likely Linkedin is the one for you. So you can target particular positions or individuals within an organisation.

And then there are more B to C businesses, selling to Joe Bloggs in the street, where Facebook might be more applicable. Certainly with Facebook's advertising platform, you have a massive worldwide audience, very similar to Google's Adwords platform, but more specific in terms of the demographics you can target.

You could target based on the age of people, where they live, like Adwords, but also by things such as what a users interests are, gender, marital status, or whether they have recently moved house.

Shaun -
I agree, I think that Facebook Marketing, especially when it comes to mobile,  gives you access to advertising in peoples hands, which is really powerful and something you can't do with a conventional website.

But a point I am clear about is, unless you are going to do it well, don't do it at all.

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