Social Media and Online Marketing Strategy – Running Before You Can Walk

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There is a lot going on out there on the Internet.  Promoting your business online used to be a niche thing but not so much today.  The whole world is telling you to get online and find some customers.  The media won’t shut up about Twitter and Facebook and it seems everyone who can turn a computer on is offering Social Media consulting.

This happens.  Back in the late 90′s it was “You’ve got to have a website.  Put up a website and your business will just explode.  If you don’t put up a website, you’ll be out of business next Tuesday.” 

And everybody rushed to put up websites because they were told to. 

And 90% or more of them were left to sit there and didn’t make much in the way of difference.  Probably never acquired a single customer that a brochure or a phone call wouldn’t have got anyway.

So What is my Point Here? 

My point is that the media is driving massive awareness of online marketing among business.  The only problem is that the people feeding this information don’t understand that much of what they are talking about.  The result is that there are massive awareness levels but it seems to be a very shallow and confused awareness.

  • You hear a lot about Social Media but how do you make it work for your company?
  • You’ve heard of SEO but you’re not quite sure what it is or where it fits in.
  • You’ve read some advice but it sounds like you have to dedicate 80+ hours a week in the hopes that 10 people like your video on Facebook and you maybe make a €100 sale in 3 weeks time.

This post is about giving one really simple piece of advice.  So, here it is:

You don’t need a Social Media Strategy until you have an Online Marketing strategy for it to fit into.

The vast majority of businesses should be marketing themselves online.  That’s where your customers are for large chunks of the day and ignoring how they choose to look for information is dangerous. 

Just like when they told you “You must have a website.  It will change your world.”  the public message is missing much of the point.  They tell you:

  • You must have a FaceBook page
  • You must use Twitter

If you do these things, customers will crawl out of the woodwork and love you.  Your brand will be bigger than Nike and we’ll all enter a new era of 2 way, open engagement with our prospects, right? 

It’ll just happen.  One minute I’m playing Farmville or whatever waste of time is today’s craze on Facebook and the next, there’ll be nothing more important to me than your company and buying your product.

The Internet can change your business.  I am a firm believer.  But it isn’t as simple as the message that’s out there now and that’s why there is so much confusion.  It doesn’t sound right because it isn’t.  It sounds too simple because the story is coming from people who don’t really understand it.

Social Media can be massively important to many businesses these days.  Facebook is a high flyer right now and you owe it to your business to consider whether you can reach those potential customers. 

But it’s just another channel that needs to be understood in the context of an online marketing strategy.  An online marketing strategy that itself needs to fit with wider business and marketing strategy.

We’ve got some posts coming over the next few weeks to try and help with some of this.  I suppose you could think of this as a kind of long-winded introduction.  In the meantime, let us know what you think.

Related posts:

  1. Twitter, Social Media Signals and Google Rankings
  2. Spreading Your Message Through Social Media
  3. Your Online Marketing Strategy – Naive or Mature?
  4. Social Media Research October 2011
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4 Responses to “Social Media and Online Marketing Strategy – Running Before You Can Walk”

  1. says:

    Social Media and Online Marketing Strategy – Running Before You Can Walk…

    The whole world is telling you to get online and find some customers. The media won’t shut up about Twitter and Facebook so you need a Social Media Strategy, right? Probably. But the Internet is much bigger than Social Media……

  2. Yoni says:


    This is really a great article that puts things in great context. In the 21st century it’s always about “The Next Big Thing.” As you stated, websites, now Social Media and who-knows-what tomorrow?

    The fundamentals are what’s important, as you said, the solid Marketing and presence.

    I had a website for the first few months of business. I didn’t blog. I didn’t do much rather than sit back and wait for my phone to ring. It didn’t!


  3. Jackie says:

    Great points Alastair.
    It’s like puting a child in a car and telling them to drive to the shops. They understand the car will get them there, but haven’t a clue how to drive it.

    I agree, the solid strategies will always see you through, that way you can adapt to whatever the latest and greatest is in the market.


  4. SiteStream SEO says:

    Thanks for commenting. I like the analogy.

    It is all a matter of perspective for me. A solid internet strategy will use multiple channels and will understand which ones are good for what purposes. It will be based on where your customers are and different channels will hit different customers at different points.

    The next big thing is important but it is just one more channel. There will be another one along after it and we’ll need to adjust to that too.

    You are exactly right. Solid strategies that are adapted to the many changes we see each year online. That is the key.