Stop Listening to Social Media Gurus and Build Your Own Digital and Social Marketing Plan

How much time have you spent the past 12 months watching videos, reading blog posts, listening to podcasts and participating at live, in-person industry events with the goal of learning the path to success in the online world?

There’s no doubt you could spend your every waking hour listening to and watching others to learn what they suggest you should do to be super successful, rich and famous (or so they say), and there’s undoubtedly value in learning from others who’ve already been down the path you are wanting to succeed at.

But here’s the problem – we all have different paths.

We all have different goals, different objectives, varied audiences we’re trying to reach. While learning from industry experts can be extremely helpful, it can also lead you to falling into rabbit holes or wild goose chases, where you end up hitching your wagon to some shiny new platform or process that could end up seeing your waste days, weeks or even months of your time.

If this sounds like you, take a listen to the latest edition of the Social Zoom Factor to hear my thoughts on why this may not be the best approach.

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A Piece of a Broader Puzzle

While it may be tempting to sit all day and listen, watch and engage with the self-proclaimed social media “gurus” – as they are also often the loudest – this may not be the smartest approach.

Here’s why – just as you’re reading this blog post, it is only ONE blog post. It’s not an entire strategy or plan – it doesn’t, and can’t, give you everything you need to build out a social media, digital marketing, or branding strategy, or path to success for everything you do online. It’s simply one blog post on one topic, designed to help you think differently about how you leverage the suggested path forward from others.

The same thing goes for most of the content you’ll find in the digital and social space – it’s often one-off content. It’s “how to do this” or “what you shouldn’t and should do.” There is definitely not a lack of “advice” out there.

Develop Your Strategy

The key to success with consuming third-party information to develop your strategies, plans and tactics is that you must first focus on your own goals and objectives.

You need to know your audience and how you’re looking to position yourself in a unique way in order to stand out from the noise.

It’s not about being first on a social network that your target market and ideal customer is not on.

A great example is to consider here is all the hype around Snapchat as the hot new platform on the block. Yes, I know Snapchat’s great for some businesses to help connect with their ideal audience, particularly those targeting younger markets. However, the sad truth is that over the last couple of years many Snapchat-focused social media “gurus” have been preaching that Snapchat is the next big thing for all businesses, and that brands need to jump on Snapchat right away.

This mentality of “get on this platform or your business will die” is a joke – you need to do what’s right for your business, by being present where your audience is hanging out.

The challenge is that many gurus who are preaching one platform or another, have one goal, and that’s to be the “go to leader” for that social network. So yes, you can learn the tactics and strategies from them, but be careful how much weight you give their advice. One platform should not define your entire strategy or priorities – unless you’ve fully thought it through and you know, 100%, that is where your target audience is hanging out, and that focusing on this will help you achieve your key goals and objectives.

Not All Businesses

Our training and consulting agency does a ton of work with everyone from small businesses right up to enterprise brands. It doesn’t matter the size of the business, we’ve seen marketers of all experience levels falling for these “jump on the new shiny object” bandwagon only to find that they end up wasting a year of time, resources and money, when they could have been focusing somewhere that their audience is actually present.

A great example of the Snapchat scenario is in the beauty industry – we do a lot of work with Loreal and Redken salons (as we’re a digital and social marketing training partner of Loreal). Many salons have experimented with Snapchat only to find that it attracts an audience who are unable to afford their high-end services, and the client ends up coming into the salon and getting frustrated by how expensive everything actually is. If the communication with the client isn’t managed properly, the once potential client leaves angry, and then posts a bad review. As a result, some salons have seen Snapchat actually hurt their business because it’s attracting an audience that wants – but can’t afford – their services.

Again, Snapchat does work for some businesses, I’m not saying it’s a dead-end and should be avoided. Depending on the specific demographic and geographic factors relating to your audience, it can absolutely be an effective option, but those key elements relate, again, to your specific market – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

In fact, many salons are now seeing similar results from Instagram – in this scenario, it’s proper targeting and communication that will ensure you’re driving the desired results, not the platform, and being present on it, in itself.

It’s not what the technology can do for you, but what you can do with the technology. Plan your work and work your plan.

Take the time to slow down to speed up. Be careful who you listen to. Learn from them but make sure you build your own strategy and plan in order to help you achieve your goals and objectives.

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A version of this post was first published on Pam Moore’s blog.

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