The State Of Modern Social Media Marketing In The Hudson Valley

Fakery. Fraud. Posturing. Bluster. Bullshit. That seems to be the bulk of what social media marketing is these days. If you have a computer, Internet connection and posses the basic ability to communicate with others, that seems to be all you need.

Social media marketing actually reminds me a lot of modern art – especially here in the Hudson Valley. We have a deluge of artists here and in some ways that’s a good thing. The downside is that every clown with a paintbrush and a gallery connection is considered an “artist.” The market is flooded by posers with a knack for churning out spare-time eyesores, so eventually no one knows what good art is anymore.

The same thing goes for social media marketing (again, especially right here in the Hudson Valley).

Have a computer? Know how to create profiles and networks? Have the ability to type and spell things correctly at least 65% of the time? Guess what? You just became a social media maven…or guru…or jedi…or whatever fabricated titles people cull from Thesaurus.com.

Here’s a good example of what we’re talking about here (WARNING: Not safe for work. Strong, but incredibly funny, language involved here)

But, unlike the art world, it’s easy to separate the real deal from the imposters in the social media world. If you are a business in the Hudson Valley considering hiring a firm to develop your social media strategy or you are looking for help boosting your existing efforts, here are some things to look (or look out) for:

  • What if you went to a plumber’s house and every time you flushed the toilet, water would shoot out of every faucet in the house? You wouldn’t hire this guy wash your car, much less fix your pipes. It’s the same concept with social media. When considering a Hudson Valley social media firm, check out their own efforts on Facebook and Twitter. Do they seem competent? Are they participating in a constructive way? Or, do their own social media efforts appear confused, muddled and misguided? Does their Facebook page look like a haphazard collection of unintelligible and almost useless information? Take a few minutes and check these things out before even considering hiring for social media.
  • When using social media to market your business, it’s not a race to see how many fans/friends/followers/connections you can make. It’s knowing how to treat the fans you have and appealing to the ones you don’t. Your social media following is not there to be endlessly blasted with promotions, sales, and marketing propaganda. Think about it like this – if you went into a market to get a steak and the butcher bombards you with high praise of his own skill; what meats are on sale; asks you three or four times how you plan on cooking your steak; and caps it off with greasy handshake and a fistful of promotional flyers…you might not go back there. If that same butcher told you the brief history of the knife he was using to make the cut – or a quick anecdote about learning to become a butcher – and mentioned a great wine that would go with your steak before wishing you well…you’re probably more likely to return to that market. Bottom line, it’s the quality of interactions with social media – not quantity. Be sure that you are hiring a Hudson Valley social media firm that capable and focused on acquiring goodwill on the Internet, not driving people away with over-marketing.
  • Content is king. It’s that simple. DO NOT HIRE A SOCIAL MEDIA FIRM THAT DOESN’T KNOW THIS. Quality, competent and concise writing can make or break a social media campaign. In addition to social network profiles, most people and businesses don’t realize that blogging is also included under the social media umbrella. So again, check out the efforts of the social media firm that is seeking your business. Are their blog posts compelling? Are they rife with spelling errors or sentences that go on and on and on? Does it seem like they took your marketing message to the local elementary school and had five year olds churn out crayon-fueled copy? Every piece of copy produced as part of your social media campaign should be carefully written by a professional writer. Every picture should be taken with an artist’s eye and a marketer’s soul. Every web video should be shot with the same. You’ll regret settling for anything less. Oh, and remember, the credentials of a professional writer should never (under any circumstances) consist solely of being a blogger. Anyone can start a blog. That’s like saying you are a professional race car driver because you drive your car to work every day.

Size up your choices smartly for a Hudson Valley social media firm

When you decide to hire a Hudson Valley social media firm for your business, you’ll probably have a few meetings to hash out things like pricing, strategy and execution. Here are some very important things to notice during this phase.

  • First, SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD NOT BE EXPENSIVE. If you get a proposal with a price that seems a quite steep, it’s probably because it is. Access to quality social media services and professional content should not be prohibited by cost, especially for small businesses in the Hudson Valley. At 90MilesNorth, we look at social media as an opportunity to level the playing field by making our services affordable enough for all local businesses, no matter how small. You shouldn’t have to have deep pockets to stake your claim on social networks.
  • Second, when discussing strategy with a social media firm, you should be doing most of the talking and directing. You know more about your business than anyone and it’s our job to get up to speed. If a prospective social media firm starts telling you what’s important about your business, show them the door. A social media campaign that is formed around anything other than your intimate knowledge of your own business will not succeed.
  • Also, execution should be a team effort. You have to keep us informed about the happenings of your business and we should always keep on top of developments in your area/industry. Ideally, it should be an open channel of communication between social media firm and client. The more you participate, the more authentic the marketing message is.
  • And lastly, and certainly not least(ly?), when considering a social media firm in the Hudson Valley – make sure you are dealing with strong creative forces and not just a group of people who imitate what everyone else is doing. If you heed only one thing away from this rant, let it be this. Social media is no place for boilerplate strategies. You can have profiles on every social network out there, but without the injection of creative thought into the process, your brand and message will not survive among the masses. I can’t speak for other firms, but at 90MilesNorth we won’t take on a client unless we are sure we can develop a creative, effective strategy for their business. Creativity in content. Creativity in implementation. And creativity in tracking the results of you campaign.

The point of all of this is to illustrate one of the major problems with a marketing medium like social media.

It’s fairly new. It’s very effective. And it’s difficult to spot the fakers. Take your time when choosing a social media firm. Go with your gut feeling. Would you trust your web marketing efforts to a firm that is using the popularity of social media to mask their inability to actually master the medium? Or, would you pick a team of professional writers and content producers with serious creative chops that have been using social media for most of their lives – not just in the past couple of years?

The whole predicament reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the 1998 poker film “Rounders” – “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.” Unless, of course, you’re sitting at the table with 90MilesNorth – the only sucker-free social media firm in the Hudson Valley.

Check out the other social media firms in the Hudson Valley, then compare them to 90MilesNorth.  No one brings the range of talent; the depth of skill; and the creative force that we do.

Get in touch with us to learn more.

And check back soon for a similarly rabid rant on Search Engine Optimization. That one is going to be a doozy.

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