I went to a seminar a few weeks ago, espousing the benefits of social media and internet marketing. It was hosted by three or four internet marketing firms (or least spokespeople for them) and eventually ended up being a giant advertisement for them, while spouting out partially correct information about the internet.
- “Social Media gives you amazing traffic!”
- “Traffic means visitors to your site, which means sales!”
- “Facebook and other social media sites are always ridiculously effective!”
- “You need to Tweet!” (or “Like” or Post or “+1″ etc.)
“SEO!!!” aka “Search Engine Optimization” (which, although nothing they said about SEO is wrong, its become a mere “buzzword” that’s thrown around, with no one having any idea what it really means.)
Now, I’m not trying to criticize these people – they gave me free donuts – but they’ve got it wrong with regard to internet marketing.
But first, before moving any farther, I must mention that I was the youngest individual in the room – by about 30 years. Not that this is a bad thing necessarily, it just is what it is. But why does that even matter? Because the seminar was taught by an older generation that didn’t grow up thinking like the creators of sites like Facebook and Twitter think. They’re trying to force feed the internet with old methods and mentalities.
So, a lot of marketers out there “do” internet marketing because that’s the latest thing on the scene. They don’t understand what or why they’re doing it or how it’s different from the old ways of marketing, but it seems to work so it must be good! Then, taglines, buzzwords, and catchy phrases get thrown around between themselves and their clients. And, because they seem to know what they’re talking about (i.e. use a bunch of big/strange/tech-y words), customer come running, checkbooks in hand! Simply, its a big festering mess of “incorrect.”
But really, does it matter? If everyone’s doing it wrong, then isn’t it “right”? Sort of? Sure, sort of. But, doing it “wrong” really means doing it inefficiently, whereas using internet marketing “right” will get you a lot farther with your dollar.
There’s a reason for that difference in efficiency though. Paired Inc. can get you the same service for cheaper because we’re younger and because we don’t have to spend the time re-learning how to think or learning how to use these sites and strategies – it’s just who we are and what we do.
The aforementioned quotes display this brilliantly. They do have some truth in them, they are just “off,” a little bit.
Social media can get you a lot of traffic, and traffic can lead to sales, it can be effective, but it’s not the silver bullet that it was portrayed as at the seminar – it takes work. You aren’t guaranteed 1000 followers on Facebook or Twitter. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But merely existing on Facebook won’t guarantee a spike in sales, like most would have you believe. You have to engage, converse and interact. That is what social media is – social – and too many marketing firms miss that.