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The Social Media Hammer

You are probably not qualified to pick the most potentially successful marketing method for your business. Not particularly politic, I know. But you’ll see why I’m probably insulting you right off the bat 🙂

The first thing that got me paying attention to this Hammer idea was when a friend asked me to look at how she was marketing her business.

Her first thought was to hire a social media marketing company, which she had done almost a year earlier, but it just wasn’t working for her. She really didn’t understand what they were doing, how they were doing it, and why it wasn’t making her sales go up.

So, diving into that first I found – that it was fine. Too generic for my taste. Mechanical, scheduled, and probably kept someone at iStock fed pretty well. WAY too expensive.

But not terrible. It was just ONLY social media.


The Hammer-Nail Marketing Thing

I talked about this idea at length here You are Not Outsourcing Your Marketing, but the basics are pretty obvious.

To a Hammer, everything looks like a Nail.

And most Marketing companies have a hammer in their pocket. So even if they have website development, seo, video and social media on their business card…ONE of them is the one they love.

They have something they’re great at. Focused on. Built a business around.

That specialty that we’re talking about in this case Social Media, is the Hammer.

You are the Nail.

In my friends’ case she volunteered to BE the nail right up front. Because she had thought that social was the obvious choice to grow her business and sought out a social media hammer.

Many times, though, it’s just not that obvious to a non-marketing savvy business owner. Sometimes you’ll approach a Marketing Company that advertises the whole toolbox, but the owner has a big hammer behind his back just waiting to use it. 

Back to the Social Media Marketing Hammer

Maybe… probably… if you own a small business, social media seems like the most obvious thing to invest in if you want to grow.

There are tons of success stories about people on Instagram making it big. YouTube stars. Some small business getting noticed for a great social post and being catapulted into success. Oprah.

So it makes sense that you’d go there first.

But upgrading the windows in a house that’s leaning to the side isn’t going to fix the house.

And if you call the Window Company they will 100% come out and say “Why yes, you DO need new windows!” and happily install them right before the house tips over completely. [a stretch, but I’m shopping for new windows right now so it’s all I think of!]

A decent social media marketing contractor WILL make that house look better with some great windows. You’ll probably love them. Your neighbors will ooh and ah.

Until the rest of the house falls over. 

Odds are you don’t need that particular Hammer. You need a solution to a bigger problem or help reaching a specific goal.

Why NOT Just Get Hammered?

Social media marketing might be what you need. But in my friends’ case, it was not.

She wasn’t speaking to the right market. Wasn’t selling the product(s) the people she was Instagramming in the direction of wanted to buy.

Worse yet, she was trying to sell a product for too little. Every time she DID make a sale she lost money.

The better social did, the worse her business suffered. Luckily in her case the social campaigns didn’t do well at all.

But that social effort could have also sent people to a landing page or web page that didn’t convert well. Or that great YouTube video might have had a million views… in India or Germany… where you don’t service.

Or the stunning Facebook post could have reached thousands of people that loved your product but couldn’t afford to buy it.

The reason you don’t want to go just get hammered is because you might be paying for something that flat out does not work, costs you money and hurts your business in the long run.

ATTN: Small Business Owner

You are probably not qualified to pick the most potentially successful marketing method for your business.

Just like you’re probably not qualified to figure out the best tax strategy. The best stocks to buy. Which medication to take to cure your medical issues… or to judge if new windows will keep your house from falling over.

But unlike Engineering and Medicine, you can learn enough about Marketing and its impact on your business to make some better decisions.

Then when you approach a Social Media Marketing Company you KNOW you’re a nail. Because you decided to be one. 

Questions before you Outsource Social Media Marketing

If you do decide to hire a social media contractor instead of a more general marketing company, here are just a few questions to ask. If you don’t know what the answer means, then go back to the educational drawing board and start studying before you write a check.

  • How will you measure success? (you should answer this for YOURSELF first)
  • What kind of ROI tools do you use?
  • What social media platform do you specialize in?
  • Are my customers there?
  • Who develops the content – you or me?
  • Is it generic and shared with other customers?
  • Will you use my businesses voice and personality or yours?
  • How will you communicate your progress to me?
  • Do you understand my market? If not, how will you learn?
  • How and who will handle public responses to your campaigns?
  • Is handling reviews part of your offering?
  • What additional charges can I expect?
  • Tell me about the Contract for services. 

Marketing may not even be the Problem

Fundamentally, there are 3 reasons I don’t recommend hiring out a single PART of your marketing. Including Social Media.

#1: More eyeballs or customers may not be the problem.

#2: You’re probably not hiring as part of a plan, but as a reaction to something else or a hope for something undefined.

#3: You probably don’t have enough knowledge to ask the right questions or judge the answers when you do.

Here’s what I DO recommend:

Learn enough about Marketing to be dangerous. And realize that marketing may not even be the answer to whatever your business issues are at all.

You might need a screwdriver instead of hammer. [Screwdrivers that come to mind might be a CRM, some sales training, or just some honest feedback about your product].

Or feel free to contact me here at Owner Marketing School and Agency – There are more Hammers out there. 


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