As the newly appointed digital strategist here at Anchor, over the last couple months I have read dozens of articles, attended numerous presentations, and listened to experts talk until they were blue in the face about social media strategies. I’ve learned more about Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube then I thought I would ever need to know. But believe me when I say I have yet to even scratched the surface of the ever-evolving world of social media.
Marketing has changed dramatically in the last five years and is sure to continue changing at a pace faster than we can imagine. That means that no one can tell us definitively what is going to be the “it” medium five years from now.
Not only do we now have the ability to communicate brand messages to huge portions of our target audience in seconds, but more importantly, we can now hear our target audience tell us more in seconds than they could have in months using traditional research! So if marketing is continually changing and the consumer is taking more and more control, what can we do as marketers to help our clients’ businesses flourish? Is social media the easy street to business and financial mega-success? I’d like to think so, but we all know that this is unrealistic. Instead, we should recognize what social media provides marketers and businesses all over the world. . . opportunity.
Am I suggesting that every business in America should run to their computers and sign up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and MySpace, all while making countless YouTube videos? No. Without a well-thought out digital strategy, social media will very seldom succeed.
No matter who you are and what you do, there is a digital media strategy that will work for you. The key is finding the right mix. YouTube has turned personalities and products from unknowns into global phenoms in a few days, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should use YouTube. Other companies have spent millions on so-called “viral videos” and had them fall hopelessly through the cracks.
Most businesses don’t have the time or money to throw into dozens of different strategies, so knowing exactly what it is you want and need to accomplish can – and usually does – make the difference between success and failure. It’s all about strategic planning, and social media fits in by giving you feedback about how your plan is working.
We’ll never know how to give the customers what they want if we don’t know what it is they’re looking for. And this, my friends, is why social media will continue to play a huge part in the future of marketing.