What you’ll read here is nothing new.

by Julian Westaby.

We’re  introducing a crazy marketing challenge:

Become THE expert in your field, in Scotland, within six months. Yes, that’s right, irrespective of how ‘BIG’ or ‘SME’ you are, the power to do this is in your own hands, using the ‘miracle’-‘Social Marketing’!

“Social Marketing, what’s that?” You’d be right to ask because it’s a subject that has had more rubbish spouted about it than any other marketing phenomenon. ‘Google’: ‘social marketing’ and you get 149 million results!

So, what’s the truth? Well, using a 100% measurable, evolving, improving marketing platform, could at least, be quite interesting, but how do you dip ‘a toe in the water’? We’re simplifying here obviously but it involves, joining-up bits of software and ‘the usual Internet suspects’ such as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Bebo’, so people find out all about you. The important factor (the ‘social’ bit) is that it’s OTHER people who organically spread your ‘word’.

However, care is needed. It’s possible to project a picture of your Chairman’s arse on the moon but if you let technology get in the way of a brilliantly concise sales message, you’ll just end up with a bum deal. You need a compelling message, or sending any amount of messages to any number of ‘social media’ contacts just won’t work. Because this ‘Social Marketing’ , it’s not a ‘panacea’, it’s not a ‘cure-all’. It’s a series of platforms, that’s all.

That’s where a ‘back-to-basics’ approach can work. A well-worked-out strategy and an approach where your marketing is pooled together, to work together. That’s the way to do it. ‘Simples’ as these annoying ‘comparing-meerkats’ would say.

Now, we’re ‘Social Marketing Gods’, and we’re suggesting this obviously in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way. Why? Well, there are lots of organisations who tell you they’re ‘experts’ in every area of ‘digital’ communications. There’s a word we use to describe this but it can’t be printed here but if it was 1909, let alone 2009 we’d be wary of anyone saying they had all the answers. After all, we’re talking about sales, marketing, logistics, PR, IT, and lots of other things with acronyms, so for anyone to claim to be overall, bona-fide experts…

We’d suggest that creating clear messages, knowing clever people who can help join things up in a seamless way-that’s the way to do it. Anyway, we’ve taken up the aforementioned challenge on behalf of number of organisations. If you’ve got a cunning plan, a ‘united-front’ an enthusiastic team of experts and a clear idea of how Internet technology can speed things up, you can quickly race to the front of the pack.

Some words of warning though. Don’t expect miracles. Because if it’s worth doing well; it’s blinking hard work to do it really, really well. As well as having what PR people would call ‘collateral’, in other words, stories, engaging content, interesting angles…you also need ‘resource’. Because your amazing new ‘digital’ strategy won’t do things on its own. You need dedicated people (or peoples) to do the ‘grind’. Make sure stories are written, updates are published, ‘in’ boxes are checked and personally responded to. After all this, you’ve got to see if it’s working. You need results to be measured, messages tweaked, images improved…

It’s always been the case that there’s no finishing line in marketing. so that’s even more true, when it comes to the immediacy of ‘digital’.

So that’s it, our ‘it’s not neuro-cranial surgery’ thoughts on ‘Social Marketing’. Lots of it is really dependent on extremely solid marketing basics and having a watertight strategy, signed-off from ‘above’ (wherever that might in your place), so nobody is in the dark when interesting and unusual things begin to happen. That’s because they will.

As we mentioned, don’t just take our word for it, get ‘Googling’ and you’ll soon have many millions of pages of encouraging statistics, coming out of your ears. However, if you’re STILL undecided, we need to visit you and explain in our usual, straightforward way, where we could fit-in. How we could help get things moving and why you really, honestly should be making some form of inroads. Sign-in for our newsletter and we’ll tell you even more.