With all of the hype surrounding social media marketing and the trappings of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, is digital networking a means to an end – or is it the end itself?
Think about it for a second. Countless millions of advertising dollars traditionally reserved for radio and television have been redirected to the Internet, where the new giants of media reside. Facebook, for example, has 650 million active users these days and according to some estimates, it accounts for 40% of all daily Internet traffic worldwide.
Sounds like a pretty good place to direct a few advertising dollars then, right?
Of course it does. And any well-shaped marketing strategy for any self-respecting company in today’s digital world will include the use of social media networking. But once such a company recognizes the opportunities that exist in places like Facebook and Twitter, does it need to begin shaping a “social media strategy?”
Believe it or not, the answer is no.
Your company doesn’t need a social media strategy – it needs a marketing strategy that uses social media as part of the program.
Put another way, longstanding companies like General Electric, Ford Motor Company and Exxon Mobile all got their start before computers or television were ever invented. When TV’s and PC’s came along, you can be sure that successful companies everywhere were interested in using the new technology to enhance their promotional efforts.
But did they drop everything else they were committed to in marketing?
Not by a longshot. In fact, they simply found ways to incorporate new media methods into an already effective overall marketing strategy. And that’s the way it should be for today’s equivalent – social media networking.
Perhaps Mr. Chris Kirubi said it best:
“You don’t need a social media strategy. You need a brand strategy that leverages social media.”
Karubi is the Chairman of Coca Cola Nairobi. We figure he might know a few things about successful integration of social media into an already successful marketing and branding program.
The key takeaway in all of this is fairly evident. Social media marketing is a means to an end, rather than the end itself.
Does your firm include social media networking as part of its overall marketing strategy? Or is the tail wagging the dog instead?