Social Media = NO quick fix for instant results–please give it time and stay the course to build lasting results

Social Media IS very PERSONAL (PR) in my book — and the best and easiest way to find an audience and one that you want to be following you (whether it’s one million or one hundred).  But it’s not a guarantee of total and ultimate success.  Social media, online media/PR–whatever you may refer to it as, is another (albeit) new channel of marketing, promotion and public relations.

If one more “social media guru” comes to me (or one of my clients)  with great promises and illusions of social media grandeur (remember fad diets in the 90’s –and all the  “lose 20 lbs a week” promises?) i.e.  “Sales will flock to you…” or “New Customers Guaranteed…” a  I am going to scream.  Moving publicity and marketing into a social media venue is no different from any other traditional marketing venue.

Marketing and Advertising–in the traditional sense–is never guaranteed. You need to give it time/frequency and you need to find the right messaging or offer, but even THEN you are never guaranteed that your specific campaign or ad will rake in the big numbers or the ever-loving ROI that ever marketer, business owner and CEO strives for.

Marketing/Advertising and striving to find the right Publicity venue is a commitment and it TAKES TIME to flourish.  In order to see the numbers you must invest in it and stay the course. Again, remember when people were jumping on the fad diet bandwagon – looking for quick results, but only end up stopping because the RESULT DOESN’T COME FAST ENOUGH?  The same is happening with social media and networking.  So many people jump in gung-ho and only stop when they don’t see those “promised” amazing results and ROI. Does anything in business happen in a flash of a second? Especially as it pertains to marketing and advertising? I can’t tell you how many marketing programs I put together for the organization I worked for in the late 80’s that didn’t pull in the results we wanted.  No results though meant putting the brakes on one campaign and trying another–we never stopped.

Social media/online marketing is not a magic pill that will produce results in a matter of months or even years. It’s NEW media–we are all still LEARNING how to use it!   I wish all the Social Media guru sales people out there would just stop promising buyers things that they cannot guarantee. Yes, they may pull in the sale, but in the end (after about 2 or 3 months) the  “promised result time” comes along and their new customers throw up their hands in disgust and throw fireballs at the Social Media Gurus and Social Media itself (makes my life hell).

Come on!? Does the LA Times promise a “Guaranteed ROI” on the $250,000.00 ad they may sell to Disney or Pepsi?  No,  I don’t think so. So why then is social media production sold with so many false promises and  guarantees of great results? Drives me NUTS.

There is MUCH more to social media then the perfect Key Words or “Call to Action.” Can you ever do that? Really? Think about it…

For instance, I just got this bit of jargon in my in-box today (they wanted me to “take a look at what they can offer my company”–do they read?):  We will create a presence for you {on the social networks} that delivers new customers and sales. Each one will be built around a strong call-to-action and will be professionally designed so that the first impression is a lasting one. All three will also be optimized for search within each network. This means that when someone does a search, you will be coming up in the top results.

While I cannot  say a lot about their whole approach to social media production and management, but who has the right to proclaim that they will “deliver new customers”?

Social media is an investment that has really no guarantee unless you stay the course and continue to build your audience and shape your messaging.  Take the time to figure out what works for you (personally) or your company because there is no cookie-cutter formula, but there are some basic things you can do that are generic to every social media campaign/strategy.

Stay the course and devote time to your social media plan, try different things, stay with things that work,  and don’t expect it to ever become automated or viral either.  Sadly the things you see and hear about viral marketing campaigns are not as ordinary as most people would like to think (kind of like winning the lottery – well maybe not that low of odds, but close).

Think back to our traditional PR/Marketing days–and those traditional strategies we still use to this day.  The ROI on a print mailing is usually about 2-3%.   So why, pray tell, does everyone expect social media to be any better or different?  Sure the hits will look like a higher ROI many times, but in the end isn’t it all about the balance in your bank account? Again, there is no quick fix, but give it time and your bank account will benefit if you stay the course because we have only just started!

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