Over in the linkedin group I manage, (Direct Marketing Questions & Answers), we’ve been having a discussion on the zig vs. zag nature of direct marketing and social media.
In essence, the theory is this: with everybody zigging towards social media these days, does that leave a giant hole (translation: opportunity) for traditional direct marketing to be used to engage customers and prospects? It’s been a spirited discussion so far. And I firmly believe that traditional direct marketing (integrated with the web) presents such an opportunity in a zigzag market.
My personal bottom line is that social media marketing is just one of the tools in my kit bag, and should be used (tested and rolled out) as part of the direct marketing mix. So I use it all.
But no discussion of social media these days should be done without a basic understanding of it’s strategic vs. tactical use.
I see many companies using social media tactically, without thinking through the strategy. The truth is, anyone can post a video, start tweeting or blogging, etc., and many companies have jumped on this bandwagon as a tactic. However, much like direct mail or any other direct marketing discipline, the tactical use of social media can have little or no results at all, thus giving the marketer the erroneous impression that social media doesn’t work.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, we tried direct mail (or insert medium here) and it doesn’t work. Some of these people when further queried will admit to not following the rules… the first of which is define the strategy, the list, the offer, etc. And with some of these business owners if they are willing to learn how to do direct mail right, their next attempt will have better, if not profitable results.
There are many places in which to find the rules of direct mail, or traditional direct marketing. But when it comes to social media, the rules of engagement are a bit vague.
Beyond strategy – the common sense rules of engagement:
So I have been studying social media marketing for the last year. Practicing it strategically, and analyzing my results. And I have also been looking for a good quality set of rules to live by. Today thanks to Twitter I found some published by Intel for their employees and their contractors. These are a good place to start.
Note from Jim: Article originally written by me for eMarketing & Commerce Magazine (eM+C): http://www.emarketingandcommerce.com/story/eview-social-media-rules-engagement-live