We can do a lot of things for you here at Social Fulcrum. We can find your best customers and incentivize them to spread positive word about your company/products. We can monitor and positively affect your brand’s presence across the entire social web. And we can create beautifully creative and strategic campaigns that target your audiences and reach them with specific messages. But what we can’t do is one of the most important things related to your social media strategy: make great products (or services).
If people (in general) don’t like what it is you are selling, we can’t really help you. We can find out what people are saying about your brand/product, but if what they say is bad, and their criticisms are true, our work stops there. (If they are misinformed or if someone is unfairly badmouthing you, it’s a completely different story). We don’t try to convince people to buy crappy products. We got into this business because we are consumers ourselves, and we know that when we try a product we love, we want to tell everyone about it. We just want our favorite brands to be able to find people like us, so that they know that we are special and that we appreciate what they do for them in terms of word of mouth marketing.
The first step in an effective social media strategy is making sure that you are at least TRYING to make the best product you can. Because that effort is something that your audience will appreciate. This is where the Steve Jobs biography comes in. If you read the Steve Jobs biography, you will understand how relentless he was in the pursuit of a great product. He absolutely adored quality products, and vehemently detested products with flaws.
You know what Apple’s social media strategy is? They don’t have one! – Or rather, their lack of a strategy IS their strategy. Rather than engage with consumers via social channels, they stay almost completely silent and let the rumor mill do the PR instead. Why? Because nobody needs an incentive to talk about Apple. Nobody needs Apple to tell them what the company is doing. Because the company is creating such amazing products, bloggers are dying to write about anything Apple-related, and users are eager to post and tweet about the latest iPad, iPhone, or iOS update. Apple fans defend the brand at every turn, so why would Apple need to enter the fray?
Yes, this is an extreme example, but it highlights the ideal: focus on making something great. Advertising agencies can create buzz around quality products, but what we can’t do is use marketing to deliver a strong and consistent ROI for a brand or item that no one wants, needs, or likes. Great marketing can sell great products, but even the strongest, most expensive marketing can’t generate serious business for one that is mediocre at best.
So before you call us – or any other marketing company, for that matter – spend some time fine-tuning what it is you want to sell. Once perfected, social media marketing is a cinch, and results are practically guaranteed.