There’s No Such Thing as “Social Media Marketing”

In 2015, PepsiCo Global Beverage Group President Brad Jakeman riffed a wonderful rant directed at advertising and marketing agencies at the Association of National Advertising’s annual “Masters of Marketing” conference that had many of us nodding in agreement as it went viral on social networks over the following weeks.

The gist of it? Agencies need to get with the 21st-century program. Our favorite part? The whole rant really. But if we really had to pick just one, in a gun-to-our-head sort of situation, we’d have to go with:

“Digital marketing is the most ridiculous term I’ve ever heard. There is no such thing as digital marketing. There is marketing – most of which happens to be digital.”

Someone (of significance in the industry) finally said it. There’s a pink elephant in the room. Get to know the pink elephant. It’ll be here for a while.

This is exactly why we do everything in our power to avoid using terms like “digital marketing” or “social media marketing” at Krazy Fish. There’s no such thing and we feel awkward talking about it. There’s marketing and there are communication channels – the digital ones, particularly social media, just happen to be growing, effective, and available to more businesses than ever before these days.

That being said, the question of whether your business needs digital or social media marketing is no longer a question. Businesses need marketing. Period. More marketing options are now available to businesses of all sizes. Period. Most of these options are in the online environment. Period.

While we understand that most small businesses don’t know what the hell they’re doing or even where to start on these digital channels, we’re going to stick to the claim that it’s easy enough for anyone to do, and properly, if and when applying the proper tools and effort.

Looking to start marketing your small business on your own? Here’s what to do:  

  1. Get a budget together. It’s just simple math and an absolutely necessary investment. For businesses that are just getting started, have been present on the market for less than five years or for the launch of a new product, the recommended marketing budget is 15 to 20% of projected gross revenue. Don’t have an annual business plan or projected costs and revenue? There’s your first sign of trouble. Go back a step and get those done first. And well. Shoddy projections will end you in the first year, as will not investing in marketing. If you’re an existing, established business, as little as 5% of your projected annual revenue will get you a nice marketing boost. If established, try to keep your budget up to 10% and try to get more creative than usual. The same things most likely won’t keep working for you every quarter these days. See? Math is all it is.
  1. Now that you have a budget, determine your target groups and pick the channels you can afford. We’ve already written about that in terms of personal reputation management and pretty much the same goes for small business.
  1. Be consistent. Posting something or engaging with your online audience once a week or once a day is not enough. Anything less than four posts a day on Facebook or, alternatively, constant well-crafted ad campaigns on Facebook will get you nowhere. But more about that from Forbes contributor Neil Patel.
  1. Measure. And when you’re done measuring, measure again. Almost every major social media management and scheduling platform, like Hootsuite and Buffer, as well as the plethora of sales leads and marketing management platforms available offer built-in statistics, analytics, measuring, and reporting tools. Use them. If you don’t know how to “read” those results to base future marketing activities on that data, then find someone who does. Otherwise you’ll be guessing at whatever may or may not work next and spending a lot of that budget you just set on marketing efforts that disappear in the great digital void.

Rinse and repeat. For best results, stay involved in your marketing efforts weekly or daily if possible. Stick to it, for the long haul. Even if you’ve hired an agency or a “guru” (ugh) to perform social media wonders for you – stay involved. It’s your business, your brand. You should be getting detailed reports at least once a month – read through them. Give feedback. Be creative and stay open to new ideas. And, for heaven’s sake, stop using terms like “digital advertising” and “social media marketing”. Just get on the boat with everyone else and enjoy.

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