Social media marketing is en vogue at the moment. Maybe it has been en vogue for a few moments. In any case, The New York Times has a blog dedicated to the subject, and a post that they published made me think of Chris Rock. Let me explain.
A social media marketing dilemma?
This week’s column tells the the story of a private investigator who has decided social media marketing is a racket. He writes that he has spent thousands of dollars on search engine optimization and AdWords, later admitting that he built his own rudimentary website and he was dissuaded from trying AdWords because competitors might click on his links. He Tweeted a couple of times, shut down his Facebook account and keeps a premium LinkedIn account that hasn’t brought him any business.
The proffered advice? Get a new website, implement a social listening program, look into keywords, blog, and share other people’s content.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated. The solutions that were being proposed seemed awfully abstract for a business that needed customers now.
Social media marketing is the new Robitussin.
Comedian Chris Rock has a funny bit where he recounts how his father used Robitussin as a cure for anything. ”Got asthma?” Rock quips. ”Robitussin. I broke my leg, daddy poured Robitussin on it.” I read the NYT piece and wondered how social media marketing became the cure-all for every marketing dilemma.
Need customers? Use Facebook. Need female customers? Use Pinterest. Need a personalized interface to use the platform? Use
Social media marketing isn’t the solution to every problem
It turns out that this private investigator specializes in “insurance claims investigations, but he also investigates fraud, theft, property damage, or elder abuse.” And also infidelity. If in the course of investigating these things he hasn’t used social media tools, what are the odds that he is going to be enthusiastic or successful marketing with them? Probably pretty low.
Not knowing anything else about the guy – it seems to me that AdWords would be a better solution to drive immediate business (Google offers every new user some amount of credit when they begin). Maybe LinkedIn would be a place to cultivate key account relationships (or LeadFerret if he didn’t want to buy the premium version of LI). There are plenty of ways to market a business, but for one without evident repeat business, with an owner that is not using social platforms to do his work, and that needs business immediately, it seems social media marketing might be inappropriate (at least in the short-term).
The social media marketing litmus test
Completely tongue-in-cheek, maybe you should ask anyone who suggests you use social media marketing tools to market your business what they would recommend for a broken bone. If they respond “Robitussin,” run.