Social Media is Not a Magic Pill
There was a great article recently on Forbes by Haydn Shaughnessy about how Apple is getting beat up in social media but their sales don’t seem to be affected. It hit on a chord that has been in my mind for a while. Something that I discuss with clients very often. Social media is not a magic pill. There must be a strategy, and it must tie in with business goals! Oh, and don’t forget your product and service remain king. Lets look at the facts.
The two examples Shaughnessy, who keeps up on digital marketing news, supplied in his article are perfect because I have personal experience with both companies. I own four apple products, and I owned a Kodak printer not that long ago. Apple has given me a great experience. Apple’s products are beautiful and the four products I have work well. Did they have glitches? Sure, however, nothing that you wouldn’t expect (at least in my perspective I don’t think everything will be perfect), and even one really big issue with my Macbook Pro, Apple fixed because they knew about it. Great!
My Kodak printer made me so mad I threw it out. Kodak caught me on the marketing for “spending less on ink”. I thought it was a great idea! Out of all the office supplies I would say ink really drives me crazy to buy. Expensive yet needed. The Kodak solution sounded perfect so I purchased an “all-in-1″ printer, scanner, and copier. Why was my experience so bad? I don’t print often and I found out through use that the ink cartridges quickly dry out. Ok, that is annoying. I do copy and scan quite a bit, and to my dismay the unit shuts off all functionality when the ink cartridge is empty or in my case “dried out”. That is outraging! I was held hostage by my own device!
So when I read Haydn Shaughnessy’s post and he stated that Kodak failed as a business yet had amazing social media I was not surprised! They had a terrible product experience! Now looking at Apple, they have great product experiences and I would be hard pressed to think of a company that has more raving fans about their products. Apple doesn’t participate in the social media game, and right now apple is being beat up by reviews on iOS6! Yet, the iPhone 5 just broke 2 million sold!!
So what’s the take-away?
1. Good social media can’t fix a broken business or product: Kodak had amazing social media. They won awards for it, but their products didn’t stand up to the hype (in my own experience). The old adage came true… “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster” - David Ogilvy.
2. Bad social media can hurt: This will be interesting to watch with Apple. They are getting beat up in social media right now, and whether or not it’s affecting today’s sales, I promise it can affect later sales. The late Steve Jobs was always able to push Apple, its fans, and its critics through issues that were not perfect during launches. Jobs usually did this on his keynote stage. However, now with the loss of Jobs, Apple will have to find a way to continue building relationships with the “new” apple users.
Again, as a digital marketing manager, don’t think social media is a magic pill. Adding a share button doesn’t unlock the realm of new sales. Have a strategy, but most importantly, have a good product or service. Social media will help great things spread, and kill bad things quickly.
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