According to HubSpot, 74 percent of businesses say social media is the leading emerging channel for lead generation. That’s not really surprising when you consider that companies that blog have 55 percent more website visitors and up to 88 percent more leads per month than those who don’t blog. And blogging is only one component of a social media strategy.
But if social media is so powerful and so effective, why is it that 68 percent of CMOs report that they feel “unprepared” for the challenges of social media marketing?
Part of the problem may be that businesses are focusing on the methods of marketing rather than the message. There’s no question that the way we do marketing today looks a lot different than the way we did it even 10 years ago. Today, customers are in control. They look for the information they want before they make their buying decisions. And they determine how they’re going to look for that information. They’re increasingly ignoring traditional “information outlets” such as TV, radio, print ads, and mass-market direct mail.
Why? Because those methods push out a message that businesses think consumers want. Customers are much more responsive to marketing that pulls them in, engages them, and asks them what they would like to know. (You can find a helpful comparison of these two approaches in the free download Inbound Outbound Marketing: Battle Royale.
It’s not that methods aren’t important. They are. And there is a learning curve involved in using new tools and technologies effectively. But the biggest challenge for businesses is for them to change the way they think about their customers—and about what their customers really want. “Mastering” technologies and platforms (Twitter, Facebook, blogging, SEO, Google+, etc.) won’t turn your marketing efforts around. And it won’t guarantee your success. Figuring out what people want and how to enable them to get it will.
Are you feeling prepared for the challenges of social media marketing? What questions would you like to have answered that would help you meet the marketing challenges of today—and tomorrow?