What We Can Learn About Social Media Marketing from The Onion

It was a rather shocking tweet. Someone who was in charge of The Onion’s Twitter account basically called 9-year-old actress and Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis the C-word.

It was so reprehensibly awful and terrible that Twitter just beat the holy bejeezus out of The Onion for it. Within an hour, they deleted the tweet. (This was remarkable in itself, given the fact that these guys never back down or apologize for anything.)

A LOT of angry discussions on whether The Onion should have apologized or not. The angrier ones seem to be on the

A LOT of angry discussions on whether The Onion should have apologized or not.

This morning, even as the Internet was storming Castle Onion with pitchforks and torches, their CEO, Steve Hannah, even went so far as to post an apology to their Facebook page.

Dear Readers,

On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.

No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.

The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.

In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.

Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.

Sincerely,
Steve Hannah
CEO
The Onion

From a social media marketing standpoint, this gives rise to a bigger question: when do you blame an entire company for the acts of a single person? When does one person’s views reflect the entire company? And should they ever?

Let’s face it, what this unnamed person did was reprehensible. You just don’t call little girls that word. (Actually, you don’t call any women that word, but there’s a very wide line between being a sexist a-hole and the worst person in the world, and the unnamed person managed to keep one foot planted on either side of it.)

Now The Onion is bearing the brunt of that one person’s poor judgment.

In a lot of cases, people will forgive a company for the missteps of a single person. If you have a bad waitstaff experience at your favorite restaurant, you don’t boycott the entire restaurant. If you received a damaged package from your favorite online bookstore, you don’t stop ordering books. Yet, there are thousands of people who have un-liked and un-followed The Onion on all their social properties, because of a single tweet by a single person.

But this isn’t entirely unexpected. During the presidential election, when someone from a candidate’s past 30 years earlier does something mildly offensive, the other side will scream that this proves that candidate is the anti-Christ or a fascist. When the CEO of a corporation says or does something awful, consumers scream that this kind of attitude pervades the halls of that company.

There’s an awful lot of screaming going on, and people are understandably and justifiably outraged. What this unnamed person did was awful, but the entire organization didn’t sit down at a table and vote on what to tweet.

Are people overreacting or are we justified in screaming at The Onion? Did one bad apple spoil the entire bunch, or should we look at their entire body of work, and forgive them in the end?

This Shouldn’t Stop Companies From Using Social Media

The problem is that whenever anything like this happens — at least the problem for social media professionals like me, Jay Baer, and Doug Karr — is that potential clients look at this and say, “See, we can’t trust our employees not to do something stupid and boneheaded like this.”

It makes our job harder, because they’re worried that their punk intern just out of college is going to start tweeting about his drunken antics at his cousin’s wedding. Or she’s going to launch into some profanity-laced tirade about how her basketball team couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat.

So we have to remind these clients of a few things:

  1. If you have employees like this, you have a hiring problem, and that’s your fault, not social media’s. Those people would act like this even if Twitter had never been invented.
  2. You need to hire people with several years of experience and common sense to run your social media campaigns (these two traits are sometimes mutually exclusive in some people).
  3. You already trust employees to count and handle your money, take trips to faraway places, and even answer the phone without you hovering over them. You need to trust employees on social media this same way.
  4. You need to have a clear-cut social media policy about things you cannot say, words you cannot use, and ideas you cannot convey. At least then people will know why you fired them for violating numbers 1, 2, and 3.

For companies thinking about social media marketing, you need to think about these things:

Will people do stupid things? Yes. It’s in our nature.

Did you hire those people? Yes, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Did you hire them to do those stupid things? No. Otherwise, that would make you as stupid as them.

Will people blame you for it anyway? Yes. Because we all want someone to be outraged at.

Does this mean you shouldn’t do something, like use social media? No. Because people do stupid stuff with all kinds of technology, but that doesn’t mean we don’t 1) use computers, 2) use fax machines, 3) use phones, 4) use cars, and 5) hire people.

We still do all those other things, we just make sure they’re used properly.

That’s how it needs to go with social media. More than half the country is using it. More than half the country is expecting you to be on it. And despite the bone-headedness of some people, it’s still a good and decent place to reach an audience.

People make mistakes. Big, goofy, bone-headed, dumbass mistakes. That’s all just part of the rich tapestry of the business world, and everyone does it. Some are just worse and more crass than others.

The question is, will you stick your head in the sand because of what someone else did, or will you embrace the latest technology and learn from other peoples’ mistakes?

Maybe Social Media Marketing SHOULD Replace Traditional Marketing

Whenever I give a talk on social media marketing, I always point out, “we don’t actually recommend that you replace traditional marketing with social media. Rather, it should be another tool in your marketing toolbox.”

Why? Why can’t social media marketing replace traditional marketing? In a lot of cases, the traditional marketing has outlived its usefulness, and is just a waste of money. Not every time for every marketer. But many marketers are spending money on something that’s not working anymore.Toolbox

I can think of five reasons why you should replace traditional marketing with social media or content marketing.

1. You Aren’t Getting a Positive ROI

You ned to spend money to make money. But you need to make more than you spend, in order to make it worthwhile. You can’t just throw money away on a marketing channel and call it “branding.”

Because unless you’re Nike, you don’t have branding-level money, you have “this had better f—ing work” money. So spend the money in a place where you know you’re going to make more money than you spend.

One client stopped spending $60,000 per year on trade show marketing because they weren’t getting anything out of it.

“We’ve measured it, and we don’t make any money on the shows,” they told me. “We just go because we’ve always gone.”

The company switched that entire budget over to content marketing, and in the first six months, they got two new clients that grossed more than their entire annual trade show budget.

2. You’re Overspending

A common trick of the Yellow Pages companies is to break everything out into a monthly price, so all their features and add-ons seem small. “It’s only $5.99 more per month.” “That’s only $3.99 more per month.” “Oh, and that’s a paltry $6.99 per month.” Before you know it, you’re spending a lot more than you intended.

On top of that, your prices will increase even more the following year. Your vendor will often send you a contract renewal with some barely noticeable rate creep, hoping you’ll sign it without too many questions. Soon, any prices you were paying are greatly increased from when you originally signed it.

Combine that with the fact that you weren’t getting a positive ROI in the first place, and it’s either time to renegotiate or drop the channel completely. Your vendor’s salespeople should be able to show you how to measure your ROI (they can’t do it for you, but they can show you how). If they can’t, cancel.

Social media isn’t free, but it is controllable. If you hire an in-house person to do it, you can control the costs. If you outsource to a third-party, they can show you the ROI and prove their value.

3. Your Audience Isn’t Using Traditional Media

Are you relying on newspapers to reach 20-somethings? Are you advertising your home decor products on ESPN? Or you’re still rocking the Yellow Pages ads even though you’re trying to reach smartphone users.

This is where it pays to do target market research. Find out where your target market is likely to see (and not see) your advertising. If they don’t read newspapers, stop advertising in them. If they don’t watch ESPN, quit buying TV spots.

Next, figure out where they do spend a lot of their time, and how they gather news and information. For many people under the age of 30, that’s on social media. Quit spending money on advertising outlets that aren’t yielding anything, and start focusing on content marketing and social media marketing.

4. You Need to Reach a Target Audience

Who’s your target audience? And don’t say “everyone.” Because unless you’re Target, “everyone” isn’t an audience.

Who are the typical buyers of your product? Men over 40? Moms? Single 20-somethings?

How would you typically reach them? TV advertising comes close, but there are so many viewers who aren’t in your target market that you’re wasting money. TV costs are based on total viewers, not targeted viewers. You’re paying for people who will never buy your product to see your commercial.

Radio? Same problem as TV. Plus, there’s more than one station your target audience listens to, so you have to double or triple up.

Direct mail? You can target your audience, but you don’t know who opened your mail, or what they did with it.

With social media marketing, you can target a specific group. Whether it’s advertising to certain demographics on Facebook, or running a content marketing/local SEO campaign for search engines, you can specifically target only those people interested in your product, and ignore everyone else.

5. You Don’t Have a Big Budget

Like I said, social media isn’t free. But it’s relatively cheap, when compared to traditional marketing. TV and radio ads can cost many thousands of dollars. Billboards on highways often cost $10,000 or more per month. And on and on.

Social media marketing is a fraction of that cost. It can easily reach your target audience, and won’t cost as much to do it.

Think of it this way: It can cost less than $100 per day ($3,000 per month) to advertise on a single cable station, but you’re going to spend $30,000 or more (sometimes much more) to create a high-quality spot. A six month ad run is going to cost you $48,000. Then you need another six-month ad. Or a two month seasonal ad. Or more than one commercial.

(And let’s not even talk about how you’re spending a lot to not reach your target audience, or how difficult it is to track ROI.)

Social media pricing varies, but an outside agency can manage social media anywhere from $1,000 – $5,000. It may seem like a lot, but it beats the $96,000 per year you’re spending to create and run two TV commercials on one cable TV station.

Can we completely replace traditional marketing with social media marketing? Not yet. But every day, traditional marketing’s effectiveness is slipping into obscurity. It’s not dead, but it’s certainly coughing a lot.

For some companies, however, they need to stop spending money on traditional marketing and advertising and make the switch to social media marketing instead. It’s where your customers are spending most of their time, it costs a lot less, and it’s easier to reach your target audience.

Photo credit: jasonwg (Flickr, Creative Commons)

“Write Good Content” is a Stupid Strategy

It doesn’t matter which article on “Five Pieces of Blogging Advice You Need RIGHT NOW” you read, including mine, they all have the same tired cliché:

Write good content

I’ve decided that this is a stupid strategy.

In fact, it should not be a strategy at all.

This is the foundation of what you do, the very essence of your success. Your raison d’être, which is French for “reason for existence.”

To call “write good content” a strategy means that the default position, the strategy you would have done is to write bad content.

That’s like telling people that one of the five keys to being successful in life is “don’t kill people.” We’ve pretty much got that one nailed down, and we understand it. Which is why you never see it addressed in Emily Post or Ann Landers.

Writing good content — hell, creating good anything — needs to be our default position. It shouldn’t be a happy accident that comes after years and years of practice, or being inspired after slipping in the shower and hitting your head and having a vision of the flux capacitor.

Let’s stop telling people to create good anything. They want to. People really and truly want to do a good job. They don’t intentionally want to suck at anything, so telling them to do a good job is more like, as Douglas Adams once said, exercising our lips. If we don’t do it, “(our) brains start working.”

No one tells Albert Pujols “get a hit.” No one tells a bull fighter “don’t get gored.” Telling someone to write good content is like telling a football team to go out and win, rather than just going out to play.

So for those who keep on telling us to “write good content,” I have a few words for you:

Keep Calling It Social Media ROI: A Response to Copyblogger

I hate it when people try to change the name of a well-known concept, just because they don’t think it accurately describes what that thing is anymore.

Some teeth grindingly well-known examples include:

  • Changing radio theater to audio theater “because you don’t just listen on the radio anymore — CDs, podcasts, and the Internet are also channels.”
  • American Public Radio changing their name to American Public Media for the same reason.
  • Debbie Weil wants to stop calling blogging “blogging,” because the term is outdated. It should be called “the social web” (I heard her say it on Doug Karr’s Marketing Tech Radio show last year).

Trust me, this list goes on and on and on.

Last December, Copyblogger did the same thing. Sean Jackson (CFO of Copyblogger) and Sonia Simone (CMO of Copyblogger) wrote a blog post called There Is No ROI In Social Media Marketing.

But the truth is, marketing will never produce an ROI.

Sonia: OK, you’re still sounding insane to me.

Sean: I’m not done yet.

Marketing will never produce an ROI because ROI is not what you think it is.

A pure definition of ROI is simple to quantify.

ROI = (Gain from the Investment – Cost of Investment)/Cost of the Investment

The problem for marketing professionals is that marketing activity is not an investment.

An investment is an asset that you purchase and place on your Balance Sheet. Like an office building or a computer system. It’s something you could sell later if you didn’t need it any more.

Marketing is an expense, and goes on the Profit & Loss statement.

Yes, this makes sense. But it makes sense in the same way that telling an 8-year-old that eating Brussels sprouts will help him grow up to be big and strong. And on one level, the 8-year-old wants to be big and strong.

On the other hand, it’s the dumbest thing he’s ever heard, because Brussels sprouts taste like shit.

We Need ROI

Frankly, I don’t care if you don’t think it’s accurate. I don’t care if you think there’s a term that better reflects all the subtle intricacies of whatever it is you’re involved with. I’m not just talking about the difference between investments and profits (that’s more than a little subtle).

I’m talking about the difference between the words you use, and the words everyone else in the world uses.

When I was in crisis communication at the Indiana State Department of Health in 2006-2007, I had to constantly stop the epidemiologists from referring to the bird flu as the “human flu pandemic.” Whenever we had a news interview, I had to remind more than a few of them not to use “human flu pandemic” when they spoke with reporters.

“But ‘bird flu’ isn’t accurate. It may not even come from birds. And it certainly won’t be limited to birds by then.”

“Okay, then call it ‘pan flu,’ because that’s the term the general public is using.”

They didn’t like it, because it wasn’t completely, technically accurate, but I was satisfied because the public was going to know what the hell they were talking about.

We saw it again in 2009, when — turns out the epis were right — it was the swine flu epidemic that got us. And predictably, the media types and general public were all talking about swine flu, swine flu, swine flu. Predictably, the CDC tried talking about the “human flu pandemic,” and no one knew what the hell they were talking about.

Word reached the CDC, and they started talking about H1N1 instead (it helped when the US Swine Association and other hog people told the media that the term “swine flu” was hurting their sales).

It was still accurate, it didn’t offend the epis, and it was still short and sound-bitey enough for the media and public.

What ROI and Swine Flu Have in Common

(Nothing. It was the pithiest sub-head I could think of.)

But at the same time, we do have to recognize that, for good or bad, people will use the term ROI forever. Like Jackson said, “I’m seeing ROI taking on a mythical status in marketing — a benchmark used to compare every decision to some financial metric of return.

It’s not just marketing people, it’s businesspeople everywhere. We all use the term “ROI,” even if there’s really not an “I” in the first place. Same way KFC is now just “KFC.” It no longer stands for “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” they’re just “KFC.”

I think the term “ROI” is taking on the same meaning. We know it means something, but it doesn’t reflect what the letters stand for anymore.

Now, ROI can refer to investments in capital products, it can refer to marketing campaigns, it can refer to your website, your cell phone, your networking events, or anything you spend money on and hope to make money back.

(Because if you want to get even more technically accurate about it, most capital items don’t have a return; you use them until they wear out. And my personal finance friends remind me that an investment only refers to things that can appreciate in value; so a house is an investment, a car is not. So should we start referring to it as Lack Of Return On Investment, or LOROI? No, because that’s stupid.)

So Should We Change The Term “ROI?”

No, we should not. Because all the variations I hear — Return on ENGAGEMENT, Return on INTERACTION, Return on EFFORT — are about as mentally repulsive as a cold, half-chewed Brussels sprout in an 8-year-old’s mouth.

Just like with blogging, radio theater, and public radio, we need to stick with the term that people know. Rather than taking a prescriptive approach to language (i.e. “we have to follow these rules, because they’re the rules”), and changing the name of something to be as perfectly accurate as possible, instead just chalk it up to “common usage,” or the idea that too many people are doing it this way to change it.

Rather than complaining about the term, why don’t you instead try to get people to understand that social media is 1) measurable, and 2) can make money? That’s the more important battle to fight, rather than the ticky-tack little details that only matter to a select few people in an already tiny niche.

 

 

No Bullshit Social Media coverJason Falls and I talk extensively about the ROI of social media marketing in our book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing (affiliate link).

One More Reminder Why You Shouldn’t Put Your Eggs in Facebook’s Basket

Michael Koploy, an ERP analyst for SoftwareAdvice.com, wrote an interesting article — Adding a Pinterest-Twist to Fix Facebook Commerce — about why companies shouldn’t put a lot of effort into their Facebook pages, like setting up an ecommerce site (or as Koploy calls it, an F-commerce site — ‘F’ for Facebook).Abandoned storefront in Coles County, Illinois

Many experts have weighed-in on why Facebook storefronts are often unsuccessful. A large part of it simply boils down to the fact that Facebook isn’t an e-commerce site. This results in a contextual disconnect.

“Most people don’t go to Facebook wanting to purchase something,” says Josh Davis, social media strategist at ITFO Communications and blogger at LL Social. Davis believes that retailers were initially excited by the advertising potential, but are now realizing shopping-intent isn’t there.

In short, the context for F-commerce is wrong. Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru accurately likened F-commerce to “trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

Facebook’s core focus is clearly stated on its login page: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” Facebook is not about shopping. And it’s not about retailers. But Facebook is good for connecting people to each other.

Last week, we discussed why it’s a bad idea for companies to quit blogging to go with Facebook: Facebook owns the channel, you don’t. When they change their rules and their interface, you’re screwed. When you change your blog, you can decide what, where, when, and how.

But companies like Gamestop, J.C. Penny, and Nordstrom all pulled their F-commerce efforts after failing to receive any kind of pay off. And that’s just a year after investors swore up and down that F-commerce was going to put the hurt on online retail giant Amazon.com.

I hate predicting failure of new ventures, and pointing my finger and going “neener neener” at people who tried something and failed (unless they’re complete a-holes; then they deserve it). But I’m not surprised, and am rather pleased, that these companies got smart and cut their F-commerce efforts before they lost their shirts.

The big surprise they would have had — and it’s the same damn surprise that businesses who put a lot of money and effort into Facebook always get — is that one day, Facebook will decide, “we don’t want you to have X on your page any more, so we’re going to ‘improve’ the network.”

They did it with FBML in 2010 (Facebook Markup Language, which companies spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on to design these gorgeous sites). They did it with Groups, after begging organizations, companies, and loose collectives to spend all their time and effort to get people to join. And they did it with the non-Timeline iFrame pages, after people spent hundreds and thousands of dollars to recover from the whole FBML fracas.

Orangutan feet

Orangutan feet. I don't know what orangutans read for inspiration.

Mark my words, it will happen again within the next 12 – 18 months. Someone’s going to spend thousands of dollars, get their page looking all pretty and just the way they want it, and WHAM! Facebook will change it yet again.

Facebook, like Koploy reminded us, is a place to connect. It’s a place where friends gather. We don’t hang out with our friends at the bar to buy stuff. Companies that are doing F-commerce need to pull out before they get the big F-U.

Put your money into improving the SEO of your ecommerce site, doing more social media marketing, and using Facebook for what it’s intended for: posting Instagram pictures of your feet and gag-inducing GIFs of your favorite inspirational sayings typically found inside the doors of high school lockers.

Photo credit: Abandoned storefrontColes County Tales (Flickr, Creative Commons)
Orangutan feet Macinate (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Bad Idea: Companies Quit Blogging to Go With Facebook

The number of companies that maintain blogs dropped by nearly 25% from 2010 to 2011.

That’s not a very smart move.

But it’s a growing trend. According to an article in USA Today, more companies quit blogging, go with Facebook instead, the percentage of companies on Inc. magazine’s fastest growing 500 dropped from 50% in 2010 to 37% in 2011. And only 23% of Fortune 500 companies had a blog in 2011.

Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, the UMass Dartmouth professor who wrote the report, and world-class social media academic, told USA Today that blogging may not be the panacea that businesses thought it would be.

“Blogging requires more investment. You need content regularly. And you need to think about the risk of blogging, accepting comments, liability issues, defamation,” she said.

The problem is, the companies are taking their energy and efforts to Facebook instead. That’s not a dumb strategy. After all, at 800 million+ users, you have to fish where the fish are. And there’s a whole lot of fish on Facebook. [Read more…]

Calling ‘Bullshit’ On Four Social Media Myths

There are days I just want to shout at somebody for all the misinformation I hear about social media. I hear all these myths and bad information being passed around the business community, because some know-nothing shyster tried to sell a business owner on social media, and cocked it up so badly, the poor guy is going to just stick with the Yellow Pages and door hangers for the next 10 years.

Here are four social media myths that, if I hear someone mention them with a straight face, I’m going to throw something heavy.

1. You can’t measure the ROI of social media.

This has got to be the biggest pile of BS I come across. And to make matters worse, I hear it from so-called professionals in this industry, who apparently have no clue that this is even possible. Olivier Blanchard just recently ranted about a recent South by Southwest panel where the audience was treated to these little nuggets of stupidity:Photo of a very large bull

  • There’s no ROI for measuring ROI – it’s just too difficult.
  • You can’t put love and trust into a chart. Why? Because love and trust defies logical reasoning.
  • Social doesn’t always need to be quantified. Its not a spreadsheet metric only – trust, relationships, advocacy.

If you’re doing social media for your anarcho-syndicalist commune, then sure, you can’t measure trust, love, or that warm squishy feeling you get when you hand someone a fistful of daisies. But if you’re doing social media for a business that gives you money, then you’d damn well better measure it. Your boss is not going to want to hear about trust and love when she asks you to justify why she just spent $30,000 on your social media campaign. How are you going to demonstrate that the $120,000 your company made was a direct result of your efforts? If your job is on the line, you’ll figure it out.

There are plenty of tools for accurately measuring this kind of thing, the least of which is Google Analytics. It’s free, fairly easy to use, and there are big books you can use to learn how to use it. There are also books about measuring social media ROI, with real formulas and techniques and everything. And I can guarantee that not one jot of ink is spent discussing how to measure trust, love, or warm squishy feelings.

Granted, asking about the ROI of social media before you ever start on a campaign is a bad question to ask, but once the campaign is up and rolling, you’d better be measuring how well you’re doing, or you’re going to be out of a job three months after you launched this thing.

Read these blog posts about how, why, and how easy it is to social media ROI:

2. Social media can replace everything

Social media is just another tool in the marketer’s toolbox. It’s not a tool that can replace everything marketers have been using for the last 100 years. As much as the hipsters like to say newspapers are dead, TV is dead, radio is dead, and any other medium that’s more than five years old is dead, those things are still viable strategies.

As long as there are people who don’t have computers or smartphones, we’ll need TV and radio advertising. As long as there are people who don’t use computers and tablets, we’ll need newspapers and magazines. There are two very large groups of people who don’t use computers, smartphones, and tablets: the poor and the elderly.

In fact, because of these two very large populations, we will still need books and libraries, print publications, the Yellow Pages, broadcast television, and FM and AM radio. Not everyone has a satellite dish, a smartphone, satellite radio, and a laptop with broadband. We need to quit making the assumption that everyone in this country does.

As long as these media channels exist, there will be a need for that type of marketing. Until then, social media is completely ineffective for those two very large populations.

3. More impressions = good, fewer impressions = bad

Marketers who still believe their TV commercials are being seen by hundreds of thousands of people hate social media. They look at the social media stats and freak out when they see that only a few thousand people came to their sites and bought anything.

What they don’t realize is that they’re really seeing the actual size of their audience. They’re getting a real glimpse of what their true customer base looks like, and not the hyperinflated numbers from advertising salespeople.

Want to do a test? Launch a TV commercial, and set up a special URL specifically for that commercial. If you sell hammers for ABC Hammers, get the domain ABCHammersonTV.com, run it only on your commercial, and see how many people actually come to it. Use your commercials to drive web traffic, and then count the results. Those are the people who were inspired enough by your commercial to gather more information. Did it cause them to buy a hammer? We don’t know. But we can measure (there’s that word again) how many people that commercial drove to the website.

Want to quantify it some more? Let them download a 10% off coupon, redeemable within the next 21 days. Then count how many people redeemed the coupon. It’s not a completely accurate measurement, but you do know how effective your commercial was in driving traffic, how effective your website was in driving coupon downloads, and how effective the coupon was in driving sales.

No, it’s not the couple million viewers you were told would see your commercial on Monday Night Football, but it’s a better picture of who liked the commercial enough to take action. There’s still no mechanism to show you how many of those commercial viewers were in the bathroom. And there’s no way of knowing whether people went to the store and bought your hammer because of that commercial.

So if you keep thinking more impressions means success and few impressions means failure, you’re going to be in for a big shock.

4. The ‘I’ in ROI stands for influence, integration, intent/should be Return On Engagement

This is the hippie tree-hugging bullshit that Jason Falls and I wrote No Bullshit Social Media against. Social media is notYes, you want people to like you. Yes, you want people to trust you. Yes, you want people to be your raving fans.

But do you know what you really want from them?

Money! Being liked and being trusted are all fine and good, but it doesn’t mean a thing if they’re not buying from you. I’ve had plenty of potential customers who trusted me, but until I had a check in my hand, they did not contribute to my bottom line.

 
Social media marketing is all about marketing. It’s a business tool. And to be a business tool, it has to make money. And to show your boss that it’s making money, you have to measure it. You may even have to show that it’s as good as, or better than, the traditional marketing tools you’re competing with. (Of course, you should be measuring the performance of all your traditional marketing tools too. You’re doing that, aren’t you?)

Until people quit spouting all this nonsensical crap about what social media can and can’t do, it’s going to be slow going for businesses to adopt it. Hopefully the “professionals” who keep spreading misinformation like these four myths will eventually stop doing what they’re doing and go back to bartending, and let the real professionals clean up the mess they’ve left.

Photo credit: Oli R (Flickr)