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Social media mistake #1: Fuzzy pink slippers that don’t fit

Don't settle for a generic "social media package." If you don't know your social media needs and budget, a social media audit will help you find out.

photo of fuzzy pink slippersEarly in my reporting career, I wrote a story about Christmas Eve at a big shopping mall. As the clock ticked toward midnight, last-minute shoppers were shelling out big bucks for just about anything — as long as it could be shoved in a box and gift wrapped.

In the shoe store, one man grabbed a pair of fuzzy pink slippers and asked the clerk to wrap them.

“Are you sure they’re your wife’s size?” she asked kindly. The box said Size 13.

The guy shrugged.

“Hey, it’s a Christmas present — I’m desperate,” he said.

It doesn’t take once-a-year holiday shopping to bring out this sort of irrational thinking in people. In fact, I see it at least once a week when a business owner calls me (or a colleague) and wants to know how much we charge for “the social media package.”

When I ask them questions like:

  • What social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs) do your customers and prospects use?
  • What social media activities do your competitors engage in?
  • What resources (staff or contracted) are you willing to devote to using social media tools?

the usual response is a short silence, followed by the admission that they really have no idea. Can’t you just give me one of those social media package things and be done with it? they wonder.

At that point, I strongly recommend that they hire me, or another consultant, to do a basic social media audit to help them answer the three questions above. It’s not cheap, but at least the social media strategy they subsequently select and implement will be a successful one.

They’ll get the right size, at the right price. And trust me — they’ll find out they can do a lot better than fuzzy pink slippers.

2 comments on “Social media mistake #1: Fuzzy pink slippers that don’t fit

  1. I see the same challenges with search marketing (both SEO and SEM). Reasonably sophisticated clients will usually be receptive to an audit, or at least a discussion of the nuances that you touch on. If they aren’t receptive, it’s usually a reflection of more significant obstacles to success.

  2. I find it interesting that some businesses, while they have very sophisticated ad campaigns (radio, print, direct mail), have trouble shifting their strategic thinking to online media. I think in part it’s because the prospect or customer gets to react publicly to the business’ message and that’s just too large of a paradigm shift to handle. Usually it’s the arrival of a marketing person with social media experience that enables them to get moving.

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