I’m beginning to see online marketers trend away from forcing social media down the greenhorn’s throat. This is wonderful news, because it shows that we’re likewise beginning to stop a bit of our own shouting too. As online evangelists, we sometimes lose sight of how noisy we can get when we’re waving the social media flag to signal the troops.
Now this new quiet washing over internet marketers doesn’t mean that, like the Tea Party, we’re losing steam. What this change signals is that buyers are getting it and we’re doing a bit of our own listening as well. Buyers, more and more, understand the essential nature of the social Web as a lead gen tool. Rejoice! Social media is beginning to make sense to even the least savvy in the room. But, as is often true, a problem solved, can mean another is then exposed. And in the case of the social newbie getting beyond the curve, the challenge for them becomes how to avoid dragging their tired notions of marketing into the social media fray.
Leaving us are the days when GE and Walmart claimed ownership to their markets strictly by virtue of the massive size of their marketing budgets.
Today, billboard, print, TV and radio are all slowly being marginalized because more and more, we can personalize what we allow to get through. Social media, and more recently, the growing mobile revolution allows buyers to filter out the messaging we find irrelevant and uninteresting. Will these conventional marketing mainstays ever totally be replaced by their more democratic counterpart? I don’t know and I’ve read my share of arguments in each direction. What I do know however, is that everyone’s onboard the social media train these days.
So the new challenge moves away from selling buyers on social media and becomes teaching the new guy that simply repurposing noisy, one-way communications on his blog is not a path to the promised land.
My customers love the idea of blogging. They’re actually very excited about it and where they already are, they’re having a blast. But without fail, each social media prospect I meet thinks that blogging, while critical to their sales initiatives, amounts to little more than shouting in a single direction, expecting that sort of messaging to resonate. Now look social media purists, don’t be so quick to giggle, scoff or judge them. Why do you think they feel this way?
Teach new bloggers how to blog, rather than how important it is to blog.
What has convinced them so assuredly that talking with blinders over their eyes and earmuffs over their ears is how one gets buyers to buy? Conventional marketing, that’s who’s to blame. I’m 40. Just turned 40 in February. My entire memory of advertising, minus the previous – let’s say – seven or eight years has been wholly comprised of push-base marketing paradigms. I’m sure this is true of your experience as well. Radio stations are laden with ads that have absolutely nothing to do with me. The Television too. And the rail stations are peppered with print, says the media company, that appeals to a very focused buyer. But regardless of the effectiveness of the usual fare, the social media maturation is – like learning to crawl, then walk – a process. My customers have only recently embraced the notion of blogging. So we social media marketers need to be highly sensitive to this growth progression and make milestones of these stages in learning the social Web.
So when you win a new social media client, consider this: you will be teaching them to blog far more often than you will be teaching them what tools work and what channels are important. They’re with you. They get it. Stop selling it now and go teach that old dog a new trick. Your customer may not feel this hidden ROI in hiring you at first, but they will once you’ve given them their social media voice.