Dear CEOs: Social Media Is Not E-Commerce

The first Black Friday and Cyber Monday since the Great 2009 Social Media Explosion are now behind us. The first reports are in and it looks like many retailers had a great week.

I wonder if any CEOs who recently “gave in” to their marketing advisors and signed off on SM efforts are right now going over sales figures for the year and wondering why they’re not seeing a big payoff from Social Media.

The reality is Social Media is not e-commerce.

I’m not criticizing any CEOs who don’t get that…yet!  For now, I am finding fault with any marketing directors (and God forbid any PR managers) who sold Social Media efforts internally as online magic that makes cash registers ring.

I fear that some people in the marketing and communications industry have set unreachable goals in order to sell their CEOs on Social Media Campaigns. Or perhaps they are measuring social media mentions in terms of Revenue per Tweet.

There IS an online community where any company can expect the cash register to ring the moment they establish a presence. It’s called e-bay.

But unlike social media, e-commerce and auction sites won’t allow an organization to engage with its customers, learn from them, build loyalty, and all of the things that social media can do that we haven’t thought of yet!

Thanks to my colleague Jeff Tidyman of eNR Services  for suggesting this topic. End of rant and enough blogging for today… I’ve got to go check on how my eBay auctions are doing. That’s where the big money is.

Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus? Part 2

In an earlier post, I discussed the continuing sensation of some communications folks appointing themselves “social media experts.” Once again if you are calling yourself this, I implore you to stop! You’re saying nothing!
Social media is a tool; you need to be an expert in the messages you’re crafting.

A good carpenter knows more than just the inner-workings of a hammer and is therefore more than a hammer guru.
There are hundreds of twitter users who list in their bio that they are social media experts, gurus, kings, queens, and mavens. Uggggg!
I’m not sure what credentials one needs to make this claim. Did they discover LinkedIn two days before the rest of the world? Do they have more time to spend on Facebook lately since their PR agency business has slowed down?
One of my local PR community’s favorite butt of many jokes is one such self-described “mavens.” My favorite part of this story is that this CEO joined Twitter only after hearing about it on Oprah this past spring. You can’t put lipstick on an outdated publicity model and call it a social media consultancy.
Here’s another gem. I recently started following on Twitter a marketing and PR agency that says it specializes in social media strategy. What happened next? You guessed it…I received a generic auto-DM saying “thanks for the follow.” I hope they are not charging their clients actual money for their social media expertise.
Don’t misunderstand – there are many true social media experts out there. The best of them do not need to call themselves experts; their clients and peers are doing that for them.