Social media and the balm of Gilead
In the same way that the legendary balm Fierabrás – as you know readers of Don Quixote – promised to cure all ills and known diseases, many companies rush to social networks and or social media half expecting to find them quick fix for multiple problems afflicting them. Contributing to this is certainly sometimes unreal and fanciful advertising of certain agencies and professionals unscrupulous, far from informing truthfully to your customers seem more interested in getting fat fast track its customer base and then apply when the results They promised not reach the famous ‘if you’ve seen, I do not have agreement’ or one of the very trite excuses known to all.
In the first of these scenarios, we often find ourselves with companies seeking their panacea in the social web but they do not understand it – far from serving to hide them – is a sure way to reveal their lack of marketing or customer. It should be remembered that no social media plan can replace the foundation of any successful company offering a product or service quality, take your customers seriously, firmly anchored in a set of shared values, bet decisively by the innovation and even sometimes disruption of models and have a plan worthy marketing of the name preceded by a SWOT analysis and other elements such as branding that are necessary condition and (attention!) prior to success in social media.
I wish that I did not misinterpret the sense that it is an excellent idea ‘feelers’ with social networks and media and address proactively the feedback we receive from our customers to improve our product offering if we are present and attentive in them. The company is willing to listen will find a goldmine of opinions and ratings that can be segmented and will certainly contribute to improve many aspects of its operation. It is therefore essential to have an attitude of dialogue and two-way communication is often the exception rather than the rule: the rigidity with which many still use the social web as a simple megaphone to tell us your kindness leaves much to be desired.
Then there are those who bet on Web 2.0 as a channel pure and simple sale and whose sole criterion of return on investment or ROI is accounted for sales can be attributed to social networks. Even in the best case, this is especially difficult to quantify in the absence of a component of e-commerce or electronic commerce. When asked what is the ROI of social media? we must respond with counter-question: what is the ROI of mobile phone? If it is clear that the latter provides great advantages for all communication processes and marketing company, it must also be the contribution of the first when used in a systematic, extensive and strategic within an integrated marketing plan offline . And yes, it can support proactively sales as the cases of companies of every size and condition as Telepizza (what a great example of how to energize a community in Facebook!), Canned Serrats (to cite the case of an SME) or great football clubs like Real Madrid with their merchandising.
It is especially sad that sometimes the biggest disappointments and deceptions regarding social media resulting from the (false) promises of those who say or want to work professionally devote to them. A time now have proliferated since offers ‘socialization’ digital SMEs to truly throwaway prices to the pretty faces that made promises and chimerical predictions and generate an expectation that can hardly be especially fulfilled when the company concerned is not ready to look in the mirror and see their flaws before jumping into the arena of web 2.0. Suffice it to recall as a warning to mariners some fundamental aspects of any successful social media strategy:
- The networks and social media were not originally created to sell but to relate stop people. That must always be the philosophy and practice of our performance in them which can paradoxically lead to good financial results based on that premise
- Strategies and social media networks depend on the acquisition of a critical mass that – with the exception of large companies – rarely is automatic. For this and other reasons are often strategies in the medium term
- Although it may seem otherwise, the social media are not ‘free’: require a significant time investment in human resources well prepared and qualified for that purpose. They will usually also very closely linked to elements such as videos, images, websites, etc. they have certainly a cost
- A presence is not the same as a strategy. If there is no provision for bidirectional communication and are willing to actively assist messages and comments of our community, answering your questions and vigorous criticism rarely get a tangible benefit beyond ‘being for being’.
Our companies need solutions to the serious crisis that we face (and which according to the indicators are already out) and it is logical and normal to explore all possible avenues to increase profitability. They will do well to consider the opportunities and possibilities offered by networks and social media offer disbelief that by themselves they are going to bail out without determination and effort. To do this, I would strongly advise to study the examples of companies that are getting more than satisfactory results and follow the principles and practices that implement these. No miraculous balms, but digital platforms that will take us far if we use appropriate measures to this end and never forget that only those who put people and quality cigars and hard to obtain benefits lasting results techniques and tactics. And otherwise that and we also have many examples.