6 reasons you SHOULDN’T be in social marketing

by jeffhilimire on June 8, 2010

I’m finishing up a presentation I’ll be giving at the Digital Marketing Days conference in NY on June 16th.  There’s a section of my presentation where I list six reasons why a company shouldn’t be in social marketing.  The rest of my presentation focuses pretty heavily on the fact that almost everyone should be in social marketing.

So this is what I have for reasons you shouldn’t be in social marketing.  If…

1. You’re a greedy bastard

Point here is that if you are looking at social strictly as a way to sell people more stuff, you’re missing the boat and should probably stick to telemarketing and email scams.  This channel is so much more than that.  And you’re probably just going to crap it up.

2. You kinda suck

Social can’t fix your crappy company.  Get your house in order first.  If your cameras break as soon as someone uses them, social isn’t something you need to be worrying about.

3. Your business isn’t right for it

There might be a chance, and I stress the word might, that your business isn’t right for social.  I have a hard time thinking of an example, actually, and should probably strike this from the list.  Perhaps if your entire business is focused on selling to 85 year old people living in third world countries or something.  Maybe then you get a pass.

4. You’ve got nothing to say

If you truly have nothing to say, if your brand is boring and your customers are boring, then maybe social isn’t the place for you.  And maybe if that’s the case you should find a new company to work for.

5. You’re just trying to keep up with your competition

You should never do anything in marketing (or business for that matter) simply because the other guy is doing it.  “Well our biggest competitor has a Twitter account” is not a strategy.

Do you have social earmuffs?

6. You bruise like a peach

If you can’t handle the truth (damn you Jack for not allowing anyone to use that phrase without feeling slightly cheesy), then you probably aren’t ready for social.  You have to be able to deal with the fact that some people are going to say some bad things about you.  They already are, actually, but you just have social earmuffs on and can’t hear them.  So really this isn’t a good pass for you, but there’s a scary real world out there and you might not be ready for it.

Anything I should add to this?

  • http://www.concepthubinc.com sherry heyl

    I like and agree with this post. But just for fun I want to play devil's advocate.

    1. Unfortunate but true that spam does work in some ways. That is why we cannot get rid of it. I have worked with a client that I swear read the list of what not to do in social media and somehow missed the word “not” (he was very spammy). As I started to clean up the mess, his traffic went down. I had to stress quality of quantity – but at the same time I did start to accept sometimes quantity counts to. The old saying “sales is a numbers game.”

    2. I hope that some of the sucky companies get involved with social media so that the feedback channel opens up. In particular the crappy plastic toy companies. I was looking at a remote control car for my son. I saw a YouTube video that the company uploaded. Below the video were hundreds of comments that explained why the car sucked. That would be hard for the company to ignore and ideally they would see the realities of having a conversation online means transparency and the need for products that work.

    3. Social marketing works for any business that sells to people. I do not know of any non-people that are consumers so… The 85 year-olds in a third world country…well I will have to think about that for a moment, but I am sure we could add social media to their lives and make it work.

    4. If you are in business you have three things to talk about. FAQs, solutions to problems (if you are selling you should be solving problems), and customer service.

    5. Well if the competition is kicking your butt because they know how to reach your customers in ways you do not…you should take a look at what they are doing.

    6. People who cannot handle the truth typically are experts at ignoring the truth. I am sure people tell them the truth all of the time IRL and if they can ignore it when it is in their face they can definitely ignore it online.

    Re-thinking this list – if any applies you should not only not be in social marketing – perhaps you should not be in business….

  • http://twitter.com/KathleneHestir Kathlene Hestir

    Definitely agree with #2 – All PR is not good PR when it comes social…Chances are good people are already bashing that crappy company in social – so if you don’t have a solution for their problems then you definitely don’t want to go out and stir up more trouble without a solid PR plan ::cough cough:: BP

    I’d also add something about if you’re not willing to invest enough people, time or resources to moderate your channels then don’t create them.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Ah, thats where I get a little controversial actually. I am *sort of* recommending that companies need to get into social asap and figure out the resourcing later. Too many companies IMHO are waiting for the right resources, the right amount of time, etc….and waiting….and waiting….and they never actually do it.

    This is where most people disagree with me :)

  • http://twitter.com/spunstephanie Steph Critchfield

    First I laughed, second I nodded my head. I think there are plenty of right reasons to try social. But these six are big reasons why you shouldn't. Get your house in order first.

    I might add to this “You have nothing to offer.” Cuz it's about more than being in the space, it's about offering value there – having something to say could be bigger than you're suggesting — offering something useful, helpful or meaningful. Just existing isn't enough.

    To Sherry's point – “value” could be as simple as using social as a mechanism to solving biz problems. But then, you have to be not only upfront about your intentions, but really committed to change.

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  • http://twitter.com/three_squared three squared

    I definitely see your point…if you wait until everything is perfect to get involved you WILL be waiting forever. Plus getting out there and floundering a little will help you figure out what will work the best for business. That said, I think there should be some strategy and thought behind where, and how businesses get involved…I guess I fall more towards the middle of the road on this point.

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