Being in the marketing business requires an expert to constantly learn new techniques. The days of running TV ads on 3 networks, buying ads in a few national magazines and using a network of daily newspaper publications is long gone.

Now more than ever, content development, lead generation, multi-channel marketing, online marketing and pinpoint analytics have helped to shape the market better than ever.

But what about social media? What’s happening on that front? Here’s what I consider to be the good, the bad and the ugly.

istock_000017470231xsmall-1-300x199The Good:
Social media has given companies a level playing field to engage, converse and grow their customer base. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, GooglePlus+ control the majority of the market, but other startups are sure to emerge. Having a platform to engage and grow your audience is a huge advantage if used in the right ways.

The Bad:
The problem is, most companies have only a slight idea on what it takes to create engagement in a social environment. More often than not, traditional or static communication is ineffective, and can actually hurt a company. For example, if you don’t have a growing fan base or engaged fan base, your company looks tired, or stoic, and certainly not in touch.

The Ugly:
Worse yet are those companies that start a page and then ignore it. Customer posts are unanswered, things are said that can start a negative trend, and your company comes across as just not caring. Or, you have a social media strategy that’s not consistent from a messaging or corporate culture perspective. It just follows the way of the wind, changing direction day by day.

3 Tips for Better Social Media Management:

  • Engage your customers. Use photos, videos, contests and graphics to interface with your fan base.
  • Use custom graphics. Be creative in your use of your primary visuals on your Facebook page, YouTube channel or LinkedIn company page.
  • Use a social media monitoring service for as little as $10 per month across multiple platforms, and be notified when mentions are made for your company, important keywords and competitors.

And never forget that social media is just one piece of your overall marketing strategy. If you place too much emphasis on social media, because it’s hip and new, you might forget the other cornerstones of content development, lead generation, and other less glamorous (but arguably more effective) communication tools like email marketing and other B to B or B to C marketing tools.