Do we really need to participate in the Social Media Hype? Example Twitter

Three months ago I changed my job and I am now responsible for Online Marketing (OM)  for 3 of the most successful online jobsearch plattforms in Switzerland. I am building up the OM because so far we don’t have so much up and running.

It is clear that if you start to build up an Online Marketing Section that you have to concentrate first on the most important channels: Onsite Marketing (everything what is happening on your sites), Direct Marketing (Newsletter etc.), Online Marketing the classic way (banners, ads on other plattforms), SEM (Search Engine Optimization), SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and last but not least Affiliate Marketing.

In my opinion these are the 5 most important basic channels you have to concentrate on before you can start thinking over the more exiting subjects like Mobile Marketing etc.

But now the world around me goes crazy with the Social Media Subject. Not only the Management picks it up and ask me to start participating in channels like twitter and facebook also on fairs like The Swiss Online Marketing Fair which took  place this week in Zuerich- Social Media is THE SUBJECT.

I was listening to a presentation on wednesday from a Digital Marketing Agency where the presenter was claiming that if you don’t start with Social Media now and if you don’t participate in Facebook (1′803′987 user in Switzerland in Jan 2010 with a total Swiss Population of around 7′000′000! Figure is expected to crack the 2′000′000 line in May 10) and Twitter (more than 200′000 in AT, CH and DE according to web evangelisten) than you will not be able to stay successful. Furthermore he claimed that if you don’t start now you will be too late in 6 months. I also heard the same remark from another presenter.

To be honest I found this quite cheeky. It reminds me on the good old times where everyone spend millions in website projects and after the bubble bursted suddenly the real questions got ask. And one of the main question which came up on a regular basis during my  IE Master in Digital Marketing was: How can we monitize this? How do we earn money with it? How do we convert the visitors into sales, subscriptions…?

I get more and more the feeling that no one really ask these questions anymore. People think just because it is THE THING at the moment everyone has to participate in it.

I don’t agree with this. I even doubt that it makes sense for someone like us i.e. to be on twitter as long as we are not able to invest enough time and money to target the right people at the right time with the right job search behavior.

And this is not possible by simply posting jobs or connecting twitter to an API.

The presenter on wednesday said also it will not be possible anymore to use twitter for companies in a manually way. I agree with him. There is no way to do this by hand if you want to present your products in a channel like Twitter.

His answer was to connect the Twitter Account with an API and personalize it by using a database behind it. Means putsome  kind of nice sentences in the database and connect these with your job database = nice sentence + jobposting= nice personalized tweet.

I am sorry but who wants to follow a machine? Even if I take the time to set up a database with sentences to combine it with the jobs we are offering on our plattforms we are still not targeting the people we want to target.

Furthermore to post in different languages in Switzerland (IT, DE, FR) you have to have one account for each language which makes it even more complicated.

I made the experience myself. I follow some jobplattforms on Twitter. What do they do? They post once in a while an interesting job which in 95% of the cases is not what I would look for, they give advice how to apply to companies, how to negotiate your salary etc. Thats it…

Why should I follow them? They don’t even know what I am looking for! I look for my dreamjob which would be i.e. a leading Online Directors position in the consumer goods industry.

Furthermore I don’t care about tips and tricks how to apply to a job. I have 11 years work- and application experience. I want interesting information about “How to develop my management and negotiation skills? Where can I can find the next workshop in body language reading?

Or I want funny tools I can use to inform my friends and family about my new position or workchallenge. This is added value for me.

Can they offer this? NO.

Thats why the followers rate for these accounts is not really high (if this would be your KPI but thats another subject).

So what stays at the end is:

Before you jump on the Social Media Train think about your customer/user first. Put yourself in the mind of them and try to find added value. If you can’t offer this forget about it and concentrate on the other channels first. There will be new ones soon to jump on as well believe me ;)

About the Author

She is German, studied Business Economics and specialized in Digital Marketing by doing her Master at one of the top European Business Schools in Europe: the IE Business School. She has 9 years experience with E-Commerce and Internet projects, loves chocolate, books, writing and rockabilly festivals.