Social Media is not a Comprehensive Marketing Plan

Go ahead and admit it. As marketers, we’ve all heard that ridiculous statement spoken at least once – for others, much too often. We have even heard it spoken by the CEO or CFO in leadership meetings. You know what I’m referring to: the statement that sends shivers down the spines of all marketers. What is the statement? “Let’s just focus on social media.” Excuse me for stating the obvious, but social media does not represent the entire marketing pie.

The marketing pie is comprised of many facets, depending on whether a business is targeting consumers or businesses – or is a non-profit that depends on fundraising. Some niches offer differences based on whether you are selling a service rather than a product. But, there are key elements found in everyone’s marketing pie:

  • Brand strategies and corporate identity (creative direction for logo/tagline that showcases the brand personality, style guidelines, brand consistency across all )
  • Corporate communications (annual reports, brochures, facts sheets, case studies)
  • Competitive research/analysis of industry and trend research/analysis
  • Internet marketing (SEO, search strategies, email marketing, banner ad strategies)
  • Website creation, traffic analysis, landing page creation and analysis (including links from email marketing and banner ads)
  • Direct mail (themes, schedules)
  • Advertising (design, copy, analysis of placements based on costs and eyeballs)
  • Public relations and media outreach (press releases, media alerts, media advisories, online press kits, expert interviews)
  • Events (tradeshows, seminars, webinars)
  • Evaluation metrics and budget analysis
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, WordPress)

Without a doubt, social media is one element of a comprehensive marketing plan. But without any of the other initiatives, social media ALONE cannot sustain a company’s marketing efforts. Consider a business that creates and launches Facebook and Twitter pages. Sure, lots of people may initially “like” the Facebook page and check out the updates as well as “follow” the Twitter page. But what happens if there are no main websites, micro-sites, or customized product or campaign landing pages. Without implementation of other pieces of the marketing pie, the impact of a company’s social media will fall flat.

There is no debate about the value of social media. It is a useful tool to develop two-way conversations with customers. It creates awareness and generates exposure. It develops relationships with existing customers and attracts potential customers. And it builds a loyal following by driving traffic to a company’s main website. In the words of Matt Dickman, “Social media isn’t the end-all-be-all, but it offers marketers unparalleled opportunities to participate in relevant ways. It also provides a launch pad for other marketing tactics. Social media is not an island – it’s a high-power engine on a larger marketing ship.”

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