Recently, a friend called me. He is a social media and content marketing consultant. He told me he had to make an offer for a company that wanted to have a blog and be on Twitter and on Facebook.
Not that the firm really believes in social media. They just thought, with all the social media talk, they needed at least to have some social media presence because, I quote my friend, “we don’t believe in it but we have to be there and you never know that one day these things turn out to work”.
So my friend was among the several people that were asked to make an offer to build (well, design) that blog, set up that Facebook page, create that Twitter account, add a nice background to it and get ‘some followers’.
The company already received some offers from several people and agencies to do exactly what it wanted.
I told my friend to refuse. I advised him to get back to them and tell them that he didn’t want to charge money for something that makes no sense.
The reason? My friend told me that the company (and I can assure you it isn’t a small one) had no clue on what they wanted to achieve. Worse: they even had no clue on what kind of people and businesses they wanted to reach and how they would do that (the company has both a B2B and B2C focus).
Sell a strategy, a vision, a business objective, not a tool or social presence
Now, this company has so many opportunities to build great communities, you just wouldn’t believe it. It’s the kind of business that has plenty of social media marketing possibilities. To tell you the truth, I would love to share what kind of company it is so that all these creative minds out there reading this would understand me and get all excited, but I promised my friend not to.
When my friend asked the firm about strategy, target audience, business objectives, content, management, metrics, etc., the answer was “No idea, sir, we just want to have a blog and be on Facebook and Twitter.”
I told my friend to sell them a strategy first and forget about the blog, Facebook and Twitter stuff and advised him not to waste his time if they couldn’t understand and accept that.
What I don’t understand is that some people actually put in an offer, as the company had requested. Now, I am not talking about developers or designers here (would understand that), I’m talking about marketing agencies and consultants.
If I would have a social media marketing agency or was a consultant (what I, in fact, once was), I would never accept a request to create a fan page, Twitter account, etc. if there was no clear vision, strategy, calculated business objective and commitment behind it.
I understand that there is a recession, and that we sometimes have to do stuff we don’t really like or believe in but, come on, there are limits.
In the end, that’s what being an agency is about: you sell a vision, an idea, a concept and a well-defined strategy. You don’t sell the creation of a Facebook fan page, a Twitter background or a blog. Certainly if you know that your customer will probably end up doing nothing with all these things.
If marketers want to do relevant stuff on social media, they should at least bother to think about the objectives and how their social media activities can create value for their fans, followers, community, or whatever you want to call it.
Remember what I told you these people said earlier: “you never know that one day these things turn out to work”?
Well, I know that if they don’t accept the proposal of my friend and just have some social media stuff created for them, things will NEVER turn out to work.
Disagree? Let me know and tell me what you would do in such a case.
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