April 8, 2012

Rachel Strella

Is Your Social Media Plan Factory-Assembled?

By Rachel

Have you ever bought an all-in-one machine like a printer/scanner/copier or a washer/dryer combo? My husband and I recently bought a TV/DVD combo for our workout room. I enjoyed watching TV and he enjoyed watching DVD’s while we were on the treadmill. We thought we hit the jackpot.  Unfortunately, the DVD player stopped working about a week after we bought it.

We should have known better. These devices exist separately for a reason.  When they’re grouped together, it often negatively affects the quality of the individual units.

I believe we should view our online marketing efforts the same way.

Over the past few months, I’ve been encouraging potential clients to establish or enhance their social media presence. Most are eager to see what social media can do to help them communicate with prospects and generate leads.

Some, however, lump social media into a group of other marketing or web-based businesses. Take the “Superpages guy,” for example.  A “Superpages guy” is assembled from the “Superpages Factory.”  He is a slick-talking sales person who swoops in on unsuspecting business owners promising sugar fairy hits to their website or a top-ranking Google position.

That’s fine if the only goal for a business is directory-listed search engine optimization (SEO). But, SEO is only one slice of the online marketing pie and it doesn’t even touch on social media.

The same goes for certain marketing agencies.  I’ve seen agencies try to package services to include the farm: public relations, advertising, direct mail, social media, search engine optimization and even website development.  They can offer it all to be your one-stop shop.

I have two problems with this. First, some agencies specialize in more traditional media, but quickly added social media to their list to assure they claimed their market share.  There are some agencies that can pull this off, others do not give social media the attention it deserves.

Second, these agencies can be expensive. They charge a lot because they have high overhead. Small businesses can be easy prey because they don’t know any better and they figure the ‘all-in-one’ approach will save them energy, time, and money in the long-run.

My message to businesses: social media is NOT a one-size- fits-all machine.  It’s a multi-faceted, goals-based, and highly personal communication tool that works best when you give it proper attention and focus.

We are becoming an increasingly customized world; why settle for a one-size-fits-all service for something as significant as social media?

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4 comments on “Is Your Social Media Plan Factory-Assembled?”

  1. Hi Rachel,
    Nice analogy!
    Unfortunately what you describe is happening here more and more. The large directories have suddenly discovered a new revenue stream. Sometimes it is social media, sometimes it is SEO. One particular offender has 50 "social media managers" in a room who are assigned a number of "clients" for the day to post stuff - and they get new ones each day! Relationship building? Conversations? Giving value? Not here!
    Of course 3 months later the businesses who have paid a lot for this service (thousands) are wondering why they have no new business from their social media investment.
    The SEO service is even worse - want to be found for your keyword on a site that will put unrelated businesses above yours because they pay more?
    Thanks for the post.

    1. Fantastic blog post. it is so crazy that many small business will sit on the fence when it comes to social media. But all it takes is a smooth talking SEO salesperson person to close the deal. I once met with a business owner that could tell me what he was getting with the SEO package he purchase, so I asked him to call his rep. Well his rep was unenviable so another rep took the call and just talk in circles about the results they were getting by couldn't list what the client was actually receiving for his $1,300 a month. We later learned his original sales rep. was no longer with the company.

      1. You are so right, Ken. Makes me angry when they are 'thinking about it' then I find out they've invested double or triple into a company that can't even provide a fraction of what I can to help them. Somedays I wonder if I just be a smooth-talking sales creep and win them over! Good grief!!

        That's the worst - when they can't tell you what you're getting for that!! Stay tuned next week - I'm interviewing my SEO partner, John Webster. We talk about the 'red flags' to look for in these so-called experts!

    2. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and chime in. I'm amazed at the rip-off of some of these bigger 'directory-factories.' I've had clients get ripped off so bad that by the time they got to me, they had no money left and nothing to show for their investment.

      Let's hope the the factory closes as more and more people start to 'get it.'


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