Ok, we’ve all seen this when walking into a restaurant or store:
(Sorry to pick on you @Moes_HQ)
Or this when looking at magazines, brochures, or other print material:
They are everywhere. But WHY????
THEY MEAN NOTHING!!!
Too many people join social media simply because they feel like they have to (usually because their competitor is doing it or they read an article on it). They see the potential big wins of driving people to their store or site, or maybe they go farther and see the ability to quickly and easily engage with their customers. I whole-heartedly, 100% agree with the fact that social media can have a major impact on your business, when done right. I preach the social media gospel, and help individuals and companies see the light for a living…But I ask you, what does this accomplish?
Enough is Enough…END THE MADNESS!!!
The point of social media is to engage with people. It is to start a conversation. Companies that got in early and utilized social media as a marketing channel had major wins, but now anyone and everyone has an account. So slapping social media icons on your website, in your email signatures, in your print materials, and in your store is not enough. All it does is tell people that facebook exists…twitter exists…maybe it tells them that you know they exist. But in the end that’s all it accomplishes.
Simply having icons on your website is a start. The icon will have a meaning to people involved on those networks, and it allows them to link to you and your profile, and if your lucky, engage with you. But because these icons live in the electronic world, they provide that link. A print piece or an in-store piece doesn’t have that capability. It is flat and static. Those icons mean nothing, and accomplish nothing!
How we got here
A couple years ago, a facebook icon on your print material maybe said a little more. Social media had not completely engulfed the masses, and certainly wasn’t the norm, so that icon made you stand out. A social media junkie (aka..early adopter) probably whipped out their iPhone or BlackBerry and searched out your profile on facebook. But that says more about the demographic of social media adopters at that time than it does about that icon’s effectiveness in your marketing piece.
Today the average social media user has changed. It is much closer to the average consumer demographic than ever before. More of your customers are using social media, but they are less technical users of the platforms and not as devoted as they were ‘back when.’ Asking them to search you out on that social network to connect with you is asking a lot. Many of them probably have no idea even how to perform that search.
The Solution…Add Value
Tell people more. Tell them your username. Tell them why they should connect with you. You wouldn’t just create a postcard that only had a picture of a ‘Sale’ tag and send it to your customers. You would tell them what the sale is, when it is, where it is, and why they should come. Promotion of your social media should be done the same way. This is what we are moving to at ASPE:
It tells people:
- Why they should connect with us
- Where they can connect with us
- What our usernames are
- How they can connect with us
It gives people the option to instantly mention or message us on twitter, tells them what our company profile is on LinkedIn if they want to connect, let’s them know exactly what our channel is on YouTube, gives them a webpage where they can find out more about our use of social media, what to expect if they choose to connect with us, and links them directly to us from that page, and it even gives them a QR code they can use (if they know what it is) that takes them directly to that page,so they don’t have to type or search.
Yes, it takes up more real-estate, but it is a much stronger utilization of the space. If you want to take it a step further, try asking a question in your text to start the conversation. Tell them to tweet a picture of your ‘social connect graphic’ (whatever campaign it’s for…the above example is just a branding campaign) for a chance to win a prize. Engage them!
In the end you should see better results in driving people to connect with you, and should see a network that is more engaged with you. So stop plastering social media icons on your print materials, and start adding value.
If you want to get even more advanced, try testing the graphic against your lame (kidding) use of just icons. Use tracking on your website to tag traffic from your ‘social connect graphic.’ You can attach a parameter in the QR code link or use a special URL that is only listed in that graphic. Compare the amount of traffic with that tag or to that specific page with the traffic from pieces that only have the icons and see which performs better.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own examples of Good/Poor use of social media icons?
Send us a tweet (include your own photos or comments) and use the hashtag #endthemadness!