Social Media Marketing: Is This Stuff for Real?

social media marketing is it for realThere is a lot of talk about social media these days. Unfortunately, a lot of it is just talk. Some businesses—eager to improve sales—are looking at some of the social media tools as the new “magic marketing button” and are jumping on the social media bandwagon without understanding what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. They’re getting caught up in the myths (and promises) of social media without thinking through their larger marketing strategy.

Dan Zarrella works for HubSpot, one of the fastest growing and most successful social media companies around. We like his take on social media: “The next time you hear a social media myth, question it. Ask for the proof, and ask out loud.”–Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist, HubSpot

We think Dan’s right. As much as things have changed in the marketing world, some things haven’t changed. As businesses, we need to try new things and then test them to see if they work or not.  We want to repeat the things that work and avoid the things that don’t.

There’s nothing wrong with new technologies and tools. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and a host of other tools are great—if they work for you. But businesses are different. What works for one business may or may not work for another business. The only way to know is to try—and to keep track of the results. It’s not enough to set up a Twitter account and start tweeting. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page and fill it with content. It’s not enough to blog (even regularly). You need to know if these activities are generating leads—and eventually sales.

We have to say that that’s an area where a lot of the social media tools can be really helpful. They are set up to make tracking (and even reporting) easy. If you set them up right you should have the data—the proof—you need to let you know what’s working and what’s not.

Will blogging (tweeting, posting on Facebook, etc.) make your business successful? Nope! That’s a myth. Can these activities (if they’re done strategically and done well) contribute to your success? Absolutely!  Just don’t buy into the social media myths until you see the data.

How are you keeping track of your social media efforts?