Social Media experts: Oxymoron

So now the social media “experts” are telling brands that they need social media for customer service and to listen to consumers. Since organic reach is dead I guess they are trying to stay relevant so they can earn money speaking and selling books.

While there is an abundance of free research available online smart marketers understand that they need to ask “how is this relevant to my brand and customers?”. One of the best ways to listen to consumers is with social media. Social media allows consumers to be passive aggressive and post complaints or comments about brands and products. Agile brands also understand that when a consumer asks about something or complains they have to respond almost right away.

The bottom line is that brand need social media and it should be integrated with your marketing, but using social media as just an ad channel to broadcast is not what consumers want.

In the; last two years I have had clients allocate a lot of money to social media because they were duped by these experts. They usually come in hit and run and leave the client asking “what should I do next?”. Several CPG marketers have seen a positive ROI by switching social media budgets to tactics like POP displays or promotions. However, I always recommend they listen to social media for any possible fuses which could derail their best marketing.

Listening, however, is not enough. You need to empower your social media person to solve problems.,, for example, allows their customer service people to either credit accounts or send out replacement products if there is a problem. Saying you are here to help and not doing anything to solve a customer’s problem is a sure way to get bad social media posts.

As for the experts? Save your money. The number of followers doesn’t mean a damn thing on a facebook page or Twitter feed. Instagram is now promoting the fact that their channel leads to ROI, but for every success there are 20 failures.

Don’t abandon social media, but rather integrate it into your marketing. Feel free to experiment, but remember social media is still evolving and changing. Above all please don’t waste your money on a social media expert. They will do nothing but line their own pockets with your hard earned money.

Originally published at on April 19, 2016.