Social Media Marketing isn't easy. It's also substantively different than other forms of online marketing like e-mail, mobile, website, and video. Other types of interactive marketing are services that can be bought and outsourced. The client pays a fee, and MAGIC happens.
Well, maybe not magic, but you can pay someone to do your SEO-focused, E-mail-centric, integrated interactive multichannel marketing effort complete with a new branded website. You write the check, they do the work, you reap the results.
Social media,, not so much. SM is very difficult to outsource, and the only kosher way to do it is to assign someone to a company as an outsourced social media specialist working on behalf of the company (like a contractor - still speaking for the company, but not employed by a W-2). Lots of companies, I'd say the majority, do one of two things.
1) They hire an intern or a college grad with a Facebook account and tell them to do something with Social Media.
2) They hire someone to execute a social media campaign, and wait to hear the results.
Here's the problem. It doesn't work that way. You simply cannot hire someone to perform your work in the traditional sense and expect anything other than results based on cotton candy sugar and marshmallow fluff. Social Media is accused of being fuzzy, and there are metrics you can use to measure results, but there's a difference between using SM tools to affect your online profile, and actively engaging in the communities where your customers hang out.
If you want a good Page Rank, lots of links, and bragging rights for the number of Twitter followers, by all means hire a social media company to do your work for you. If you're looking to maximize profits by using social media tools to drive sales, create thought leadership, brand your company with influentials, and monitoring for damage control, your company has to do the work.
It's like personal training. You can hire the 20-something athlete to work you out, but if he gives you a training regimen, you have to perform the exercises to get fit. Paying Sven to do your workout for you isn't going to help you, it's only going to enrich Sven. And for far too many of us, purchasing a 3 year membership at the 24 Hour Fitness of Social Media hotspot is a subsitute for actually exercising.
The analogy goes further. Do you know those ultra-fit people with
rock-hard abs and 24 inch biceps? They don't make any money. Their job
is working out, and you're never going to look like them. Likewise,
trying to match up with a "social media expert" whose job is
self-promotion is foolish. Let them have the internet fame, while you
focus on a disciplined approach to driving the right kind of customers
to your virtual door.
And one last piece? Shakes, pills, powders, and social media "juice"
are scams. They cost a lot, with little benefit, but everyone swears
by them. Fitness magazines (training and webinars long on theory and
short on execution or experience) all say the same things. Social
Media is about the regular application of common sense and small bits
of work over extended periods of time. 3 hours a week can yield
tremendous long-term benefits if you make the most of your time, and
avoid the siren call of Mr. Muscles and his gang of hangers on.
So forget the fancy gym, and develop a social media plan that will
get your company healthy online. Your benefit is directly tied to the
work you do - just like in real life.