Social Media: Enough With the Snake Oil

[tweetmeme source=”helpmerhonda11″ only_single=false]If I read one more exaggeration about how social media will cure all manner of marketing ills, I will scream. Yesterday, I read a breathless article by “the Social Media Goddess”, followed by pages of conference agendas so full of social media buzzwords, you would think no other form of marketing existed. Anyone else think the social media hype being hoisted around is over the top?

Social media has its place in the marketing mix, but will not help if the rest of your marketing sucks.

Using Twitter to drive people to a weak website will not help you…they will still bounce without converting.  Poor branding or weak message?  Blog all you want, potential customers will not care.  Think obtaining more Facebook “fans” or Twitter “followers” will grow sales?  Not without a positive reputation in the offline world, earned the hard way…by delivering an exceptional product or service.

Businesses who call me for a social media plan often get an unexpected piece of advice:  let’s get your “big picture” marketing right before investing precious resources in social networking. If you haven’t paid attention to the fundamentals, then social media is not your most pressing need.  Once the other groundwork is laid, then I‘m all for social media…let ‘er rip.

My advice? Pause for a reality check, and resist the social media hype, or you may end up sorely disappointed.  Find someone who can be objective about your business,  who knows how to use social media in a broader context, and once implemented, will measure the results of their efforts (the topic of my next blog post).

For now, instead of touting social media as the cure-all for everyone who wants it, I’ll leave the quick social media buck to others.

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About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz is a content strategist and marketing consultant who helps mid-sized businesses develop more effective online strategies. @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, and on
This entry was posted in social media, social media and role in business development, Social Media Best Practices, social media in business development and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Social Media: Enough With the Snake Oil

  1. Eric says:

    I retweeted this, you’re so on point, Rhonda. I was beginning to think I was the only social media heretic left! We’ve been espousing the same ideas on our marketing blog for quite some time too:Moderation in the evaluation of social media; don’t believe the hype; test for yourself; be wary of bandwagoneering, etc. It’s nice to know there’s someone else like me out there – a marketer who’s been doing this stuff a while and isn’t going to surf on every new wave of socal media worship that comes across her Twitterfeed. Thanks a lot, Rhonda.

    Eric Bryant, Director
    Gnosis Arts Multimedia

  2. Such great advice. Social media is one tool in your marketing plan, not the only one.

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