Social media is not a strategy

Filed in Social media by on September 3, 2017

How can I develop a digital strategy?

Spot On was one of the first agencies to champion social media and to attempt to explain the massive global impact that new media like Facebook and Twitter would have on marketing. Social media has since played a pivotal role in empowering consumers, changing their relationships with brands forever. Despite this, we have never tried to sell social media activity as a cure for all ills, nor as a marketing strategy in itself.

Some 3 billion people worldwide now have social media accounts and many more are indirectly influenced by the power of social media. New social platforms have allowed users to create evermore personal spaces that can be finely tuned to suit the user’s needs, location, preferences and interests. Naturally, social media platforms have also given advertisers the tools to target consumers using such preferences with greater and greater accuracy. However, brands are discovering that it’s not quite as simple as that. Some people just don’t respond to social media marketing.

Access to an almost infinite number of evolving information sources, online connections and digital ways to buy, has put consumers in the driving seat. Big consumer brands are already moving towards multi-channel, consumer-centric marketing models, where the brand is made available wherever the customer wants to see it. For those business-to-business brands that are not yet able to implement the very latest marketing technology, they would do well to bear in mind where customers don’t want to interact with their brand.

Although we’d normally counsel that every brand should have a well-managed and carefully thought-through social media campaign, for some B2B brands, social media shouldn’t really be much of a focus for marketing. Among other things, social media doesn’t always provide an appropriate context for brand messages or conversations. For example, it’s common practice for many consumers to try to separate their work and personal interests on social media. This could mean using Facebook and Instagram for friends and family, while focusing on career and business via Linkedin. In other cases, people separate social media, almost entirely, from work interests due to the HR regulations of their employer.

So, what does all of this mean for B2B brands? Well, simply that you cannot rely on social media as a catch-all tactic, nor as your sole marketing campaign. Social media platforms might prove useful to build a following for your brand, but many of your customers may choose not to interact with your brand via those platforms. Social media also doesn’t make email, events, in-store promotions or other media advertising less valuable, in fact, your social media presence may actually make some of those other channels more valuable. However, social media is not a strategy.

Still trying to figure out what role social media should play in your marketing strategy? You’re welcome to contact me at

Read more about social media

Plenty of content marketing opportunity for Middle East brands (March 2014)

Could your brand commit a content crime? (November 2013)

A wake-up call for aspiring citizen journalists in the UAE (July 2013)

Intelligent use of social media (June 2013)

Are you being genuine? (May 2013)

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Carrington Malin

About the Author ()

Carrington Malin is co-founder of Spot On and has been managing sales, marketing, media and communications campaigns across the Middle East for more than 20 years. He likes technology, surfing and chicken liver salad. You can contact Carrington via Twitter at @carringtonmalin or via his website

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