No Such Thing As Hard And Fast Rules for Social Media

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According to Forrester Research, many brands are wasting their time with Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s clear that Facebook and Twitter don’t offer the relationships that marketing leaders crave,” said Nate Elliott, a vice-president and principal analyst, concluded in a report, Social Relationship Strategies That Work.”

“Yet most brands still use these sites as the centerpiece of their social efforts — thereby wasting significant financial, technological, and human resources on social networks that don’t deliver value.”

Instead, Elliot suggests brands enhance their Websites to make them more community-focused and interactive. This would give their Websites a digital presence that drives more engagement than Twitter or Facebook.

A few thoughts about Elliot’s thesis:

1. For some brands, Twitter and Facebook are services with high amounts of engagement, enthusiasm and participation. Good examples are Starbucks, Oreo and WestJet. It provides them with the justification and ROI for social media activity and resources.

2. The role and value of Websites shouldn’t be under-estimated because brands own this piece of digital real estate, whereas they “lease” space on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. It counters the notion that Websites are, for some reason, becoming dinosaurs.

The reality is every brand has different products, goals and ways to engage with consumers.

For some brands, social media is a no-brainer because it gives them ways to build relationships and get consumers involved with the brand and each other. This is particularly true for business-to-consumer brands.

For these brands, Twitter and Facebook offers plenty of value that complements their Websites. In an ideal digital world, there is virtuous circle between social media and Websites. Each party involved in the marketing and sales activity supports each other.

At the same time, there are brands that get little benefit from social media, including Facebook and Twitter – despite their size and presence. Their products, marketing and consumers are not natural fits for social media. It’s not the way these brands sell or their consumer buy. As a result, social media isn’t part of the mix – and that’s okay.

At the end of the day, a brand has to decide what works for them to support their strategic and tactical goals – be it sales, leads, customer service or brand awareness.

For some brands, social media is a no-brainer. For other, it’s a non-starter. It’s the way business works.

Regardless of whether a brand is all over social media or treats it as untouchable, the common denominator is the value of Websites – something the Forrester report accentuates.

A brand’s Website is their digital doorway where they welcome existing and potential customers, as well as other stakeholders such as analysts, media and partners.

As a result, a company’s Website needs to be engaging, information, insight and an effective tool to support the business. It’s where business happens.

If I had a choice between investing in social media  and a Website, the Website would win hands down.

But for most brands, it’s not an either/or proposition. They need a Website and they need some kind of social media presence. It’s just a matter of finding the right mix for each business.

More: MarketingLand and Business Insider provide coverage of the Forrester Report.

One Comment on “No Such Thing As Hard And Fast Rules for Social Media”

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