Social Marketing Is Simply Not a 'Get out of Jail Free' Card; BUSINESSTALKRICHARD HOUDMONT

Article excerpt

SOCIAL media marketing can be a real headache. Should we be using social media because "everyone else does" or because it works? How often do you hear people say "marketing doesn't work" when what they really mean is that they got it wrong: perhaps the product was wrong, or the message or the channel used.

There has been a rush to social media because some people think "it's free". Nothing could be further from the trus th. It's not a "get out of jail free" card for businesses who cannot afford traditional communication channels.

Social media marketing can be very labour intensive, but also very rewarding.

It's very measurable, as long as you're measuring the right thing. And that's the issue. Are your marketing staff keeping up to date? Just because they're aged under 30 doesn't mean they instinctively know how to use social media marketing.

Indeed if you had done a marketing degree just five years ago, Twitter would not have been on the syllabus. So businesses in Wales need to ensure their staff members (and indeed external advisers) are maintaining their professional development.

While many predict that businesses will consolidate their social media marketing strategies in 2012, less than 10% of businesses believe that they have the optimal skills and competencies to implement it successfully, according to The Chartered Institute of Marketing's recent survey, Social Media Benchmark.

The survey suggests that companies are still struggling to manage social media effectively.

Indeed, one in five marketers said that their business is fundamentally ill-equipped to take advantage of social media. Worryingly, the survey also revealed that only a quarter of respondents are yet to establish any plans for addressing the apparent lack of competency in this crucial area.

Almost a third of businesses surveyed about their social media strategies said they are still just experimenting with each of the four major platforms - Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn - and are therefore not getting the best value from them. …