Something I’ve often come across over the past few years is a frustration with who’s in charge of a business’ digital media and marketing. Since it’s a relatively new industry, I understand the confusion on who’s qualified to help your business and who’s definitely not, with quite a bit of in-betweeners. As a common courtesy to my readers, I thought I’d give you a quick list on three individuals who definitely shouldn’t be spearheading your campaign into the digital abyss.
The General College Kid
Having graduated college within the past few years, I see this a lot: small businesses turn to the youngest employee because he’s “on the Twitter” and always “fixes the computer” when Microsoft Word won’t open a .docx file.
The problem is that while “Steve*”, your hypothetical employee, has a general understanding of social networking, he lacks the focus on results based marketing in these networks. Knowing how to interpret your analytics and assessing how effective social media is in achieving your goals, and then tweaking your efforts is essential.
Also, these networks are constantly changing and require quite a bit of attention. If their regular day-to-day tasks are keeping them away from a computer, odds are your impromptu IT guy shouldn’t also be your digital media professional.
While I was doing research for my agency’s new social media monitoring platform, I came across Chicago’s own Sprout Social. I tweeted the CEO of Sprout Social to let him know how much a pleasure his sales staff was to work with, but came across this tweet in his stream:
— Justyn Howard (@Justyn) March 30, 2012
I did a quick check on SendSocialMedia and found they have an automatic search feed that responds to anyone who’s tweeted for insight on Sprout Social or Hootsuite. Once this search is triggered, it issues an auto-responder with an attempt to entice them to look elsewhere for social media management– more specifically their service.
Poaching customers is always sketchy, regardless of industry, but in this case it’s even worse. Any coherent Internet marketing manager will tell you best practice in social media highly frowns upon an auto-responder. Social media is about engaging your audience and creating a relationship, not blasting them with a very impersonal message.
The instant you enter your business into directories across the net, you’ll start to receive companies and individuals guaranteeing the holy grails of the Internet– number one in Google searches, 10,000 Facebook likes, 20,000 followers, and a date with Kate Upton [Full disclosure: that last one might be an exaggeration.]
The problem with these guarantees? Well this is actually another blog post in the pipeline, but in short you’re probably scoring high in the keywords you’d be paying for, likes and followers are practically meaningless (audience engagement is what you should strive for), and Kate Upton won’t be going out with you. She’s taken. By me. [Full disclosure: also might be a bit of an exaggeration.]
Companies and individuals which work like this are a dime a dozen, so be weary of the promo emails and fliers you receive. They’ll try to weasel their way into your digital strategies with nothing innovative or unique to contribute to your business.
Did I miss any sub par examples of agencies/individuals you’ve encountered? If so, leave a comment or shoot me a message and let me know!
*All names appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Except for Bob Romell, he actually exists. Tweet him, he’ll probably autorespond.