More On Social Media Is Just Business As Usual

Whenever I speak to businesses about social media I always tel them that social media really isn’t the game changer that people always say it is. In fact, doing business over social media is no different than doing business over the telephone, in-person, or at a tradeshow. What social media does change is the tools that you use to conduct business. I believe that most of the confusion in social media marketing is caused by marketers themselves, who are trying to convince prospective clients that what they do is somehow so special that they deserve special status.

You might find this odd coming from me, because I’ve developed a bit of a reputation as being a social media guy. I believe I’m very good at using social media for my clients, and I do believe that people should engage in social media marketing, but I just don’t like the rhetoric that surrounds it. I believe that the over-complicating of social media marketing is a disservice to my industry, as it gives all of us, even the good ones, the appearance of being con-artists.

To prove my point, here’s an example of an old-school marketing tactic that uses 100 year old technology that is a perfect parallel to a social media campaign. It involves Dove beauty bars (years of their marketing has taught me that it is NOT just soap) and the telephone.

On the back of the box of my Dove soap is a telephone number. I called it, and after pressing 1 for English, a pleasant lady answered the phone informing me that she was Dove customer support. I told her that I have seen these numbers on the back of my soap box for years, and I was just wondering why people called it. Her reply:

“Thank you so much for asking. People will call Dove for a number of reasons, such as to complain about a change that we have made to a product, to let us know that they like a product, to share ideas for new products with us, and to find out if our products contain certain ingredients, such as gluten. In addition, they will also call us to see if we can assist them in finding products on store shelves near them, or to see if we can help them find discontinued products that may still be out there.”

I thanked her for her help, and before I hung up she thanked me for calling, and then asked if I would be willing to leave my contact information so that Dove could contact me with information about new products, and also offer me coupons and special offers. I left my email, mailing address, and telephone number. A couple of weeks later I received a letter thanking me for calling in, and containing a number of coupons.

Now, let’s be frank. This is exactly what you want your social media campaign to do. A ‘like’ on Facebook has no value, except that it means one more person will be receiving your feed in their stream. Those cute kitten pics that you post don’t make you money, they entice people to like your page so that when you do post the Christmas special, they see it and buy. In effect, getting a ‘like’ is no different than getting a customers mailing address – except it’s not as useful because Facebook limits how you can reach those customers.

So, let everybody else confuse the issue with jargon, useless stats, and obfuscating tidbits. I use plain language, and can help you in about three hours a week.

It’s your call.


  1. What? Social media won’t fuel my business into the future and beyond? Heretic.

    As much as I agree with you, I’m going to disagree on one point. I have derived value from social media that I’d not have been able to via traditional communication methodologies. Namely, the ability to meet good folks like you, in a low-risk way.

    Though I cannot speak experientially regarding social media’s relative value as a marketing tool, I can relate that it has added massive fuel to my capacity to network. As I related to above, I expect because SM reduces or mitigates the risk of getting out there and shaking a ‘cold’ hand. The introduction via social media is relatively low risk, and escalating to a face to face meeting can be a natural progression of that relationship development. With the opportunity to ‘get a feel’ for someone via social media, I’ve found that it can assist me in identifying who I want to meet, and how to approach that conversation.

    That is all. As always, great post. You’re a wizard.

  2. I completely agree that social media presents us with new opportunities. I’m just saying that it’s not voodoo science as some would have us believe.

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