Perhaps the greatest delusion in the world of marketing is that the role of the marketer is to just drive the brand perception. In reality, marketers are first and foremost responsible for creating customers and facilitating the business growth; perception is merely one portion of the buyer’s journey.
With the proliferation of digital marketing, a lot of people were sold on the notion that it was going to be easy – all you have to do is be relatively active on Social Media platforms, and your customer base (as well as ROI) will never stop growing. The whole “content is king” theory of the social web didn’t help either. The concept of an online success that costs a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing, and is as valid, is merely a delusion that has been driving many businesses to pursue unicorn customers and oh-so-highly-precious Facebook likes.
Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. It wasn’t how it worked ten years ago, it’s not how it works today, and it will certainly not work in the digital world of tomorrow.
Likes, Followers, and Impressions Shouldn’t Be Your Business Goals
While your Social Media activity is undoubtedly significant, it shouldn’t be your primary focus. The engagement and growing number of followers can be considered as a business objective, and they have their role to play, but if you’re running a business, you will quickly realise that the board of directors won’t be wowed with Facebook impressions.
It’s just not what your business is about.
We’ve witnessed that many times – companies getting sucked into the trap of creating content solely to drive engagement metrics. The end result was a waste of resources and missed targets which success largely relied on the marketing efforts.
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make while creating a Digital Marketing Strategy is focusing on driving likes, followers, impressions, and many other trivial metrics instead of real business objectives (like sales, customer retention, product innovation, etc.). Not to mention establishing a Social Media presence just because everyone has to do it nowadays.
As an entrepreneur, you’re supposed to be driving business goals, not likes.
Social Media Are Responsible For Driving The Revenue
The vast majority of early Digital Marketing gurus claimed that social media is about ‘something else’ rather than increasing revenue. From creating a brand image to getting closer to the customers – the list of various objectives is never-ending.
Nobody is denying that all of them are real and important for a business to accomplish, but they have to be aligned with the customer development goals at all phases of their journey.
After ten years of claiming the offline marketing world is slowly dying, and the future is purely digital, many businesses are faced with an incredible amount of digital marketing efforts being done in the past, but no tangible progress concerning business objectives. So the mixed feelings are understandable. But what’s forgotten is that Social Media channels, like any other media channels, are as effective as you make them.
Increasing the revenue is a business metric, but the only way it can be achieved is through investing in channels and strategies it’s compatible with. Start appropriately from the beginning, and concentrate on delivering the right outcome rather than superficial media metrics.
Identify The Problems and Strategies Your Business
Often easier said than done, you have to begin from identifying the current problems your organisation is facing. Whether it’s increasing sales, customer acquisition (or retention) or recovering from a PR nightmare, there’s always a solution. But each business has to be addressed differently, with its unique goals and objectives. Don’t try to follow the same technique you read about online, they merely serve as an indicator and a particular case study, but they should never be taken as a recipe.
Look at what you have to accomplish between now and your target date, and start analysing how social media channels can help you achieve that. Your business will require a myriad of marketing efforts that will keep changing accordingly to your business needs. And that’s fine, as long as the strategy is aligned with your business goals.
At some point, every marketer had to face a campaign that utterly failed. While it might have been due to a poor strategy from the beginning, it’s likely correlated with the absence of tangible business objectives and the lack of conversation about it. But, if you remember to drive what really matters to your business, Social Media channels can help you achieve these goals.
Build a Sustainable Media Ecosystem
As mentioned before, your business development strategy will keep on evolving, and sometimes it will become a circle that can represent the customer lifecycle. From acquiring to retention, and finally winning back customers – the objective keeps changing, and so should the channels you use.
Everything changes depending on your targets – the content you produce, the choice between advertising and building more value, the difference between a discussion and engagement. The list is never-ending, but most importantly, you have to take a step back and start building a sustainable media ecosystem that genuinely drives your business goals.
Companies that do that tend to get a lot more from their marketing efforts than those that merely publish content and measure likes and impressions. Instead, their results can be measured in terms of real sales, increase in customer acquisition as well as retention, and many more.
Focusing on the real business development will help with identifying the right communication channels and driving the valid outcomes. That kind of clarity of purpose, coupled with a well-informed and prepared strategy, is what drives results (and not just in social).
Where To Go From Here?
Ultimately, all of the tools available out there are there to help you build a better business, create a more detailed strategy, and become a better business than you were a year ago. In some cases, you might have to look underneath the hood and understand your business mechanics, as well as your customers, before you know how to start driving it properly.
Know what you want to accomplish, and then build your path to success from there. And above all – always connect your investment to the real business needs.
With the proliferation of digital marketing, the communication channels will continue evolving, but they haven’t changed one thing – marketing can and should be measured in terms of driving your business objectives. If you are being told otherwise, it might be time to think who’s in control of your marketing efforts.