29 October 2009

What a Bunch of Tools

In the 20+ years that I've spent in the advertising and marketing field, I have come across a lot of tools.

When I was a buyer, I met with more unprepared sales people than anyone should ever have to. Good sales people are hard to find - if you found one, keep him (or her). A good salesperson knows their tools and how to use them. Arguably, the best tool a salesperson wields is their ears. The ability to listen, and I mean really listen, is the key to making a sale or progress of any kind with a client. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no sales genius, but I did learn that tip from one of the best - I worked under him (or her) long enough to see the real difference between someone who knows and understands his tools and someone who doesn't. Salespeople that can use this tool effectively are the ones that succeed.

And, like the hoards of unprepared sales people not knowing how to sell, the internet is fraught with tools that don't know how to use the tools. Or, maybe it's just that there is this really great tool and everyone can afford it. But, nobody knows how to properly use it. Actually, let's assume that is the case.

The tool is social media, and it's just that; a tool.

So many people believe that social media is the answer to their marketing problems, that it's the end all and be all of their marketing efforts. To me, I see it as the latest gold rush online - it's free to use, so anyone can do it. It's super easy and people are making millions! MILLIONS!!! If they can make millions just by using this free tool, why can't I use it to sell my crappy brand?

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It's your turn to cash in! Here's a surefire way to social marketing success online, and this is FREE advice folks, so be sure to gobble it up:

Just sign up for a Twitter account, make a Facebook page, post some crappy Youtube videos and tell everyone all about it on your blog. So, here's how you do it:

Twitter: simply follow a bunch, like thousands! - remember it's free - of people on Twitter, and most of them will follow you back. Wasn't that easy. Now you have a bunch of people following you. Now, you type your 140 words about your product and the legions of followers will soon be instantly mesmerized by your brand's offering. Told ya, it's simple.

Facebook: go into your Facebook account and click, Create Page. Answer all the fields, upload your logo and you're set. Now just sit back and watch the millions of people on Facebook become fans of your page. You know how easy that is? They are all tuned into your brand's offering now. All it takes is one person to tell another person and the rest is money in the bank - that's how social media works.

Youtube: put a tripod in the chair across from your desk, or if you don't have a tripod, use a stack of hard cover books. Mount a consumer grade camera ontop of the tripod or novels and start rambling about your brand. When you are done, post it onto Youtube, do you know how many people are on there? There's millions, and your crappy one take, poorly lit, barely audible, unprepared ramble about what nobody is interested in will surely make the Featured Videos list.

Blog: you can't go through all that effort the past 30 minutes in setting up your social marketing campain without telling people about it... why not the 3 people who read your blog each week? Posting your weak efforts onto other social marketing spaces so people will check out your other social marketing efforts is retarded. As you type Pubish Post, remember, what you are doing is filling the internet up with more useful information about your brand - you are helping millions (potentially).
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Wasn't that easy? Everyone should be doing this... oh, right: They are.

I've met so many 'social media marketing experts' in the last 6 months, that I cringe when I hear that phrase now. It's rediculous. Now, I'm sure there are some real experts in the field - in fact, I know one quite well and believe me, the years of marketing behind her make her the expert - not the tool.

Social media is just a tool, the same way a hammer is a tool. Thing is, I own a hammer, but I don't profess to be an expert framer. Brands have got to remember, social media is nothing more than a marketing tool. And, some tools are just best left for the trades to use.

What most brands don't get, is that you need to have a marketing plan, a strategy, the playbook for where you want to end up at the end of the game. I may have broken the analogy record here, but a quarterback doesn't keep going to the running play (unless it's NFL) over and over again - a number of tools must be used to tell your brand story and to communicate your offering.

Social media is not the end all and be all... it's just a tool.

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