(This originally ran as a guest post on the SocialMouths blog. We’re re-running it here in case you missed it over there.)
The Social Media Echo Chamber
If you get the feeling that the term “Social Media” is code for a whole bunch of bloggers talking to other bloggers about how great they are – well, it’s highly possible that you are jaded and haven’t watched a more holistic approach to social media in action.
This is understandable – and I’ll tell you why you’re seeing this: Shiny Object Syndrome leads to people who are “channel oriented” with their social media.
Let me explain.
Businesses that we have worked with at Area 224 will customarily start with a channel that they have fallen in love with. Let’s say it’s a computer hardware company who heard about Dell and its use of Twitter to drive millions in sales. Computer hardware company then says to us “We need a Twitter.” And they get on Twitter – sometimes with us, sometimes without us.
Then they start asking themselves why the sales aren’t rolling in.
The reason is they’ve gone channel first – and they aren’t Holistic with their Social Media.
So now what?
Return to the Four Ps of Marketing
Actually, we’re going to guess that a lot of the Social Media Echo Chamber people haven’t touched the Four Ps of Marketing in a long time. If ever.
Product. Price. Place. Promotion.
(See the chart. Download the chart. Be the chart.)
We’re not going to go into a big diatribe on the power of the Four Ps – in fact, in our 12 Minute Marketing course, we devote an entire week (one hour; 5 times 12 and we give subscribers the weekend off) to the Four Ps and the Marketing Mix.
But part of the fact that the Four Ps don’t get too much attention has something to do with bias – you are biased toward those things you do most, or best, as a business person.
So if you’re a PR Guy, you might tilt toward Promotion. If you’re a computer programmer writing software, you are probably zeroed in on Product. And so on…but, because of your bias, and that of your boss or your client or the woman who owns your company, you get a very “siloed” and not-very-holistic approach to whatever it is you’re working on.
Where Social Fits in the Mix
Take that bias above and apply it to the Social Media Mix, and you’re going to get…well, you’re going to get a recipe for something that’s not very focused.
(Another chart for ya.)
You’re a PR person and a people person, so you aim toward Social Networks and work on getting to 5000 friends on Facebook. You’re a computer programmer and you love Twitter’s API and the fact that Twitter can be gamed, sortof, so you head down the Micro-Sharing path. And so on, and so forth – and so not very holistic.
Ah, but where is the Target Customer in all this?
Good question – and that’s how you can take this thing to, as they say, “The Next Level.”
We have said time and time again that, if you’re manufacturing aircraft engines, you may not need 10,000 fans on Facebook. BUT, Social Media may very well make sense for your business – and for connecting with your target customer. Right? Assuming that you know who your target customer is.
Holistic Social Media – It’s Not About Numbers
“Skate to where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky.
Back when we wrote a book on Social Media Marketing for Real Estate, we were amazed at how many real estate professionals didn’t get it. It’s not that they weren’t good at the craft of real estate – maybe they were, maybe they weren’t – but it’s the fact that they had no earthly idea where the puck was going.
Had one chat with a real estate professional in some warm climate, and she said “I’m tweeting with other real estate professionals, why isn’t that bringing in business?” See above about Echo Chamber. Then see the part about the Four Ps. Then see the Holistic Social Media chart.
Let’s bring this all together with one more, final, elegant (if I do say so myself) Holistic Social Media Marketing Mix chart.
If we use the real estate professional we just talked about – is she asking who her target customer is? And, once she asks who the target customer is, does she have the Four Ps down pat for her business? (Hint: SHE’S the Product!) Price is static for her services, Place is where she lives and works and sells real estate. Promotion – well…a little more complex, right?
But, if She’s The Product, and she knows who her Target Customer is, she’s going to have a better feel for which Social Media Channels she should be using, and what she should be saying.
The categories matter to some extent – but they vary depending on who your Target is and what they do online. Geo-Sharing? For the real estate person, checking in on Foursquare at the office makes very little sense. Blogging might be important – as long as you’re blogging about what is interesting to – AGAIN – your Target Customer.
Wrapping It All Together
Simple, right? Make it all work in lockstep with each other and you’re done.
Not so fast…What Holistic Social Media allows you to do is to ask serious questions about the “Why” behind every little tactic you can be yanked into. Boss wants you on Facebook to get him new business? Great. Who is the Target Customer?
Got 50,000 followers on Twitter and want to leverage them all for new business? Great. Who is the Target Customer? What are your Four Ps?
We could go on, but filling in the blanks is up to you. Just make sure that you’re thinking strategically – and Holistically – with your Social Media.
Go get em!