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If your service/product sucks then it’s really going to suck online

Those of you that know me personally, know that I like to be blunt, no beating around the bush. This isn’t always easy when dealing with clients, but is often necessary nonetheless. One issue I have run into on a few occasions now is organizations thinking that social media engagement is the be-it-end-all solution to all of their marketing problems. Usually the mentality behind this is that social media engagement will allow them to drastically increase awareness of their product/service at very little cost and have more people using it as a result.

Here’s a little wake-up call folks: “If your service and/or product sucks to begin with, engagement on the web is only going to amplify this”.

There are 4 P’s in strategic marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. All of which should be based on solid research and should be relevant to your target audience, especially your product/service. In many cases, public sector and non-profit organizations have a service or product that is simply not based on anything other than a mandate. For more on this you may want to read a post I wrote a while back entitled,  “How social media can bring strategic thinking back into government“.

Along comes the new and exciting world of social media and suddenly people think that everyone will want to talk about their offering if only they practice 2-way engagement. While I am a huge proponent of digital engagement, keep in mind that I also actively preach a strategic approach to it, not a “jump in the fire and see what happens” approach. Part of this approach includes understanding audience needs and modifying your 4P’s accordingly if need be. If you do decide to engage right a way, then instead of intercepting your audience with information about your service/product, try asking them what they think, and whether or not they have suggestions for improvement. Otherwise, key influencers in your audience may see your engagement as an opportunity to vent.

That being said, if jumping in the fire is the approach you are currently taking, don’t be surprised if you get backlash, instead embrace it with all your might. This could be the best piece of business intelligence that you will get for a long time (especially given what’s happening with the Census).

What do I usually suggest as a first step to organizations in a position to strategically approach social media?

Conduct a social media audit and gauge the tone and level of conversation surrounding your brand, product/service and your industry. You should then use this business intelligence to improve your 4P’s, especially your product/service.

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One Comment

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