So You Think You Can … Market?

Bruce McArthur Facebook, Marketing, Social Media, Social Networks, Twitter

On May 10, 2009, my son graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University. We were so proud of him. So what if it cost $180,000, it was worth it. After all, he came away with a valuable skill, one that can be used by any business in the world…marketing.

Marketing is a profession that takes years to develop. Top executives at huge corporations, from Coca Cola to Ford, know that while they are adept at making soda and automobiles, they had better leave the selling of their products to people who know how to do it. So they outsource their marketing. They never, ever, EVER do it themselves.

Social media is perceived by amateurs as “free marketing” and even mid-size businesses are tempted to take a whack at it, because they make two erroneous assumptions. The first is that social media costs nothing. It takes endless man-hours to do it right. And if you do it wrong, the damage – to your brand and your business —  can be irreparable. Does that cost nothing?

The second erroneous assumption is this: I filled a page with text and images, I must be marketing!

It appears business professionals of all stripes now believe marketing no longer requires talent or money, creativity or experience. Just build a Facebook page and viola!, you’re social media marketing!

Problem is, you’re not. The advent of Facebook has not made you a better marketer. Do a quick survey. Pick an industry and check out the Facebook or Twitter pages from companies within that vertical. We all know what you’ll find… point & shoot images (or worse – Microsoft clip art!), tortured prose, grammatical disasters. Courtesy of doctors, lawyers and indian chiefs who think that typing equals writing. Facebook has become a vanity press for wannabe scribes.

Meaningless posts, low fan numbers or followers (or artificially created, computer generated numbers), near total lack of engagement, widely sporadic posts, the list goes on. Rarely is there evidence of a strategy, a plan, a goal. Or a scintilla of creativity.

Then comes the inevitable conclusion…social media marketing doesn’t work. But the reality is the conclusion came before any serious attempt at actually doing it.

Much like a former boss of mine, Facebook is a tool. It is not a strategy. In and of itself, it can’t get you where you want to go.

America watched Chaz Bono, who thought he could dance. While we admire Chaz’s spirit, his footwork was embarrassing.

Are you the Chaz Bono of Facebook?

Consider hiring a professional.