How to justify social media marketing for your brand

From what I see the biggest issue around social media marketing is that too many marketers are over promising and can’t prove ROI.  After they allocate resources they then spend a lot of time and money trying to show management why social media marketing is essential for their brand but they often try and convince people who want to know what social media is doing for the bottom line.   Rather than over promising here are, I believe, some ground rules to justify social media marketing for your brand.

1ne: Ensure expectations are in line with reality.

Make sure you explain that social media marketing is only part of a great integrated marketing strategy and consumers expect your brand to be there.  Do not any under circumstances communicate that social media is going to lead to increased sales unless you are damn sure that’s the case.

2wo: Don’t set a certain number of fans as a KPI

OK so we have 150,000 fans; that means what ?  You’ll wind up spending too much time trying to find out what a fan of your brand means and how they impact the bottom line.

3hree: Don’t waste your money on facebook ads unless you have a compelling message for your audience

Save your money and integrate links to your social media sites within your brand website.

4our: Align your brand around your customers not around your organizational structure.

Social media is a great way to listen to the pulse of your target audience but unless you can react to their needs and wants in Internet time you’re loosing a competitive advantage.

5ive: Make sure that you have a clear and concise strategy for your social media marketing that includes the why and who.

Why would a consumer want to have a relationship with you on social media? What value can you add ?   Who is going to be the voice of your brand on social media and do they have the skills to listen and turn conversations into brand centric conversion without selling people ?

6ix: If you get the go ahead to launch social media marketing beware of the resistance.

These are the people who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing and they are just waiting to say “I told you so”.  You not only need to set realistic expectations you need to win over influencers through real life examples of how social media is part of your brand experience.

7even: Show what  your competitors are doing on social media but be careful about “case studies”.

Always be aware of what your competitors are doing on social media and monitor them at all times but for God’s sake please be wary of case studies which can be nothing more than agency self promotion plus what works in one organization will not necessarily work in yours.

8ight: Make sure that the resources for social media marketing are in line with the allocation of your total resources (budget)

If social media is an integrated part of your brand but other tactics like POP displays and in store promotion are more important than ensure that your social media budget reflects the priorities.

Maybe shelf position is more important to your brand than a facebook page ?

9ine: Do Not, I say again, Do not let an agency be your voice on social media

Consumers want to hear from real people from real brands not agency speak people.  Agencies are pushing social media because they need social media more than social media needs them.

1oen: Make sure everyone in marketing has access to social media sites

As long as the work gets done who cares  how much time they spend on social media sites ?  Plus the latest research indicates that less time is being spent on facebook while people are at work and people are using Twitter as an RSS feed for breaking news and today industry news timing can be a competitive advantage.

I have been a very vocal advocate around the over hyping of social media and how too many marketers and brands are doing it because of the numbers but consumers expect you to be there and the Internet is about what they want not necessarily what you want.