Kristin Austin Marketing Social media's NOT it.In a world of immediacy, there is nothing like social media. But let’s be clear here, as much as I might love using it as one of the tools to build my business and that of some of my clients, it is just a tool or a channel. And just one of many at that.

Social media is very far from being ‘the answer’ to every business’ marketing plan or customer acquisition problem.

I would even go so far as to say, if anyone tells you social media is ‘the’ way to go – RUN! Why? Because there is no ‘the’ tool, channel or answer when it comes to marketing.

To say one way is the best way is incredibily limiting at best and potentially dangerous advice at worst.

Every businesses needs the right tools and unless you know your market (ie: your customer) intimately and the channels they consume (ie: media/mediums) are not completely fragmented like most are, you’re going to need a host of ways to connect with your customers across several touch points.

You might consider the following marketing touch points in your campaign or overarching marketing plan (not in any particular order and the list isn’t exhaustive);

  • Direct marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Events & expos
  • Tradeshows
  • Competitions
  • In-situ, instore, on-pack or on-shelf promotions
  • Actual sales calls (yep, remember those)
  • Phone calls
  • A smile from your receptionist & a reception area that’s not dark, dank or reminiscent of an ’80s gentlemen’s club
  • Media/analyst/stakeholder relations
  • Thank you cards
  • Branded items like umbrellas, squooshy toys, etc even yacht sail branding if you can make a business case for it
  • Training or speaking programs
  • Advertising (TV, radio, outdoor, location- based , online)
  • Your website (and on others via links, comments and
  • Networking
  • Brochures, flyers or any other printed materials
  • Sampling programs
  • and social media

What’s most important for marketing success is that you understand who your customer is, what they’re really after – ie – what’s in it (ie: your product or service) for them (WIIFM) and reaching them where the are.

There’s an old saying “fish where the fish are” – true then, true now. There’s no point being on social media if none of your clients (or potential clients) are there. Of course there are many, many people jumping on the social media bandwagon, but if it’s not a key audience for your business, put your energy into something that’s going to build your business. Start with the list above and go from there.

In terms of finding out how to reach those customers? Ask! Especially if your business has been operating for a while, ask your customers where they hang out.

Recently, as part of a rebranding exercise for an accounting firm, we asked their clients if they used social media and what platforms they used. Now, given these clients were business owners, I would have sworn blind that they would all have been on linkedin. But no, they’re all on FaceBook. So that’s where the client set up camp (in addition to a range of other marketing activities) – and their ‘friends’ came to play. Go figure – actually, the partners run an amazing business and their core brand value (as told to us by their customers in research) is friendliness – so being ‘friended’ on FB suits them perfectly. (Just as an aside, they also ranked very highly on professional advice too).

What it really comes down to, is find what works, for your customers, your business and your budget and do that. Map it, measure it and make it better each time. If we can help, we’d love to talk to you.

Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She can be found hanging out in social media land – for her clients’ benefit of course. You can follow her @glitteratichic or click on the LinkedIn icon on the right handside to connect there. If you’re not on social media and still want to connect – she’s happy to talk through your marketing plan and business boosting over coffee. You can always give us a call on (02) 9994 8005 or drop us a note.

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