It is easy to forget, what with all the hype and interest surrounding social media, that its is just one part of a large marketing mix. It is of course, the latest shiny object that brands want to play with and show that they know the importance of.
When you go to a bar, generally you will find that it offers different things – there may be an extensive menu of food, or it may be a specialist in whisky, or it might have a certain type of music on the jukebox – but one of these things on it’s own does not a bar make.
Social media is a bar snack, something to be indulged in if the option is there and it will add value to your experience. What you don’t want is a bar snack that is too salty and will make your mouth dry and encourage you to buy another drink. Your bar snack of choice should complement your choice of drink, be that a beer or orange juice.
Think of the beer in the image as advertising, the wine as a consumer PR campaign and the glass tray holder thing in the middle as social media. The Advertising and PR activity must work together well before you can think about introducing social media.
Conversely, you wouldn’t go to a bar and order two bags of pretzels without buying a drink (well you might if you really like pretzels) because the experience wouldn’t be of a suitable level of value.
If the beer and wine don’t mix, you’ll get a stomach ache and may regret your decision to not check out your drink choice the following morning. The last thing you want is for your marketing campaign to bring about the same result.
In 18 months, social media may well be the standard snack, and we may have moved onto a new way of marketing that presents itself as a new and exciting delicacy to be tried and enjoyed alongside the beer and wine.
What brands must do is to avoid the trap of solely relying on social media, advertising or a PR campaign to bring about results, be that sales or the development of a better reputation.