Want To Save $900?

Social Mention

I saw (and RT’d) an offer from The Phoenix Group to do a “Quick Social Media Analysis” for your company to the tune of $900.  At first I was happy!  “Finally, the biggest agency in Regina is doing more social media, YAAAA!”  White doves were released in the air and a small baby penguin was born.  Then I read on…

All they focus on are what people are saying about you or your brand.  That’s not social media, that’s one small component of the new media revolution.  And furthermore, you can find out what people are saying about your brand using a neat little tool called Social Mention, for free.  That’s right, I just saved you $900.  Go to Social Mention and check it out, while you’re at it, plug your website into WebsiteGrader.com, your Twitter handle into Tweet Grader, Klout.com and see what comes up.

I don’t believe understanding what people are saying about you is an intricate step in your online marketing strategy, first you must understand what it takes to be a social organization.  If you still think social media is “joining the conversation” and “listening to what people are saying about you” you’ve missed the boat.

Anyone who understands social media should give you a free assessment of your online presence, not just a ‘quick’ analysis of what people are saying about you.  If you want to discuss your online marketing give me a call (535-9697) or Tweet me (@jephmaystruck).  You shouldn’t have to pay $900 for something that is essentially free.

7 replies
  1. Dan Bowman
    Dan Bowman says:

    And Jeph throws down the gauntlet! Well, perhaps that’s a little melodramatic.

    Good for you Jeph. I have a ton of respect for someone who will not only call out a local business for offering un-valuable (yeah, stick that in your Funk and Wagnall’s) services, but who puts such an honest and consistent effort into freely sharing information and ideas that ARE deeply valuable.

    Gentle reader, Jeph’s the real deal. If you’re looking to social media as a way to connect with your market, Jeph will guide you with a journeyman’s hand.

    Keep it up Jeph, and I’ll keep consuming it. Thanks!

  2. David Bellerive
    David Bellerive says:

    Provocative as always Jeff, and for some reason, I seem to be your favourite punching bag.

    I would like to clarify a few points in your post where I feel people might get the wrong impression.

    “All they focus on are what people are saying about you or your brand.”

    I’m not sure where that extrapolation comes from, but it is neither what I said, nor what we do. We listen for the brand. And we listen for the industry and business sector. That knowledge helps to build a better strategy.

    I believe business is built on relationships and listening to customers. I believe an important step for business to discover where to focus their efforts starts with listening.

    I believe that you agree. Only a few months ago you had a post “Monitor your brand with Google Alerts” where you said, “I realize this probably should have been one of my first posts ever but hey, no ones perfect right?”

    Why did you think it should have been your first post? Because it’s important to listen.

    You were quite emphatic to your readers, “Go now, start monitoring what people are saying about you out there, you never know just what you’ll find.”

    Granted, you recommend they do it themselves, but for many companies that is simply not possible. We simply offer to do it for them. And yes, that costs money. As you said just a short while ago right here, on this blog. “Just because something is technically “free” to use doesn’t mean you’ll have the time to use it effectively.”

    We use Sysomos MAP, one of the industries leading listening and monitoring tools. It’s not free, but it does offer some unique analytics and some impressive results.

    As you also said, “If you can’t figure out ‘why’ you are implementing a new tactic, you shouldn’t implement it.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    But if you’re offering to do it all free… Well, that is saving your readers some money!

  3. Jeph Maystruck
    Jeph Maystruck says:

    David, first let me say you are not intentionally my “punching bag”, if Brown, Bravo Tango, Look Matters or MGM came out with a “Quick Social Media Analysis” I would be writing about their service as well. I do online marketing, if I do a branding campaign or buy billboards or radio I would expect to come under your scrutiny. If you’re doing something online expect me to have an opinion on it.
    I do appreciate you taking the time to refute my post. Using what I’ve said in the past is a great way to position your argument (and even more difficult for me to come up with a rebuttal, HA!) You’re right, many people don’t have time to monitor correctly, I just hope people don’t think you’re putting together their online strategy for $900. Also, knowing an agency’s business model might make me curious as to where you’d recommend they focus their marketing attention after the online analysis. After all, I don’t know how agency’s will monetize recommending that their clients do more online. A conundrum many agency’s worldwide are facing.

    I guess I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge, the report you give them for the $900 may be quite robust and may set the direction of their new online strategy and it may have saved them from making mistake after mistake online. But I think you’ve just scratched the surface of what you can do for companies online. For $900 I’d rather talk to your creative department and get ideas for new original content I could create in the future, if I were your client.
    I just don’t know what a “quick social media analysis” is going to do for most companies that don’t understand what it means to “be social”.

    Thanks for reading and responding David (My favorite punching bag).

  4. David Bellerive
    David Bellerive says:

    Well, I can’t dispute that!
    We do find that many businesses, after hearing influencers like yourself, recognize the need and are eager to get social. Some jump right in, others need to look around first.
    I hope my post and our offer doesn’t suggest we would stop there.
    Now excuse me, I’ve got to find some steak to put on this eye…

  5. Baikman
    Baikman says:

    I find all of this stuff very interesting.

    But I need to vent a little rant, excuse my rambling.

    It seems right now in this industry in general, and specifically when it comes to discussing anything social, too many people are offering the solution to clients when they haven’t even learned their problem yet.

    There is no one answer.

    I find a lot of these conversations dangerous. Experts are telling people not that educated in anything social, that traditional advertising is dead. That it doesn’t work.

    Really? In our smaller market, with an older demographic that has a lot of money, that don’t use computers beyond the one they have to use at work?

    I know it still works because I talk to people like this in Regina everyday – I hear people talking about billboards. I see people bringing in coupons they found in a print ad.

    I am not just focusing this on you Jeph – it seems that everyone is telling clients and others what they should be doing before they know the problem.

    That’s where the strategy comes in. Where we should develop a solution for our clients that may or may not include social media. Or it may or may not include traditional media.

    It has to be devloped on a case-by-case basis. It’s finding out the clients’ problem and solving it the best way we can. It’s finding out where their audience is, or discovering a new audience, and speaking to them there. It’s called customer service.

    I just think people are telling people to put all their eggs in the social world. But that’s not the real world.

    I’m sure I’ll be dismissed as a dinosaur for these comments. But I totally agree with embracing social media. It’s a powerful tool for marketers that has empowered consumers like never before. And some day it may be the only tool in the tool box. But right now there are still other tools we can use. And to simply abandon them is shortsighted.

  6. Mike Klein
    Mike Klein says:

    Jeph et al.,

    I have to admit when I saw David’s offer I too wondered of the value that a $900 audit could really bring and I threw a couple of friendly twabs (tweet jabs?) at David. Partially for some of the reasons you mentioned, but mostly, and honestly, because I felt a bit threatened that one of Saskatchewan’s biggest advertising agencies was about to ‘throw down’ in the market I’ve decided to start a business in.

    However, after some reflection, I realized that although Phoenix is clearly looking to get in on the social media ‘action’ (and digital) this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for a few reasons:

    1. It validates the view that social media is becoming an important part of the marketing mix

    A few years ago most of the traditional agencies (speaking generally…not in relation to Phoenix) would have fought tooth and nail to discredit the folks who were advocating for the use of social media. They called it a fad. They said it was just something passing in the night. I felt like a heretic four years ago…but now I know I was right. That feels good.

    2. It will help reduce my costs of market education.

    The biggest challenge that I face on a daily basis is there are lots of potential clients who just don’t understand what social media is and how they can use it to make money. And, educating these audiences is expensive from a time perspective. Having a company like Phoenix in the mix is certainly going to help speed up the education process…especially because they are a credible and trusted brand in the local market. I expect that will help the rest of us immensely.

    3. It represents an awesome learning opportunity

    One of the things I have a passion for is learning about different organization’s business processes, because if I’ve learned anything it’s that you need a well-defined process to successfully scale any service. Especially if you are going after large and complex work.

    I’ve developed some great frameworks (by learning from folks like Zu and Interbrand) that work well for website strategy and social media strategy development, but I’m always interested to learn more. So, I’m eager to watch from a distance and learn.

    4. Where there is feeding there is food.

    I can’t speak to Phoenix’s business strategy, but I would posit a guess that with their recent acquisition of Oh they are definitely looking to get involved in the digital space in a big way. However, with 47 folks on staff it seems the market they are after in the long run is not the $1000 website (correct me if I’m wrong). In fact I would guess the big guys like Phoenix, Brown or Zu can’t touch work profitably below a certain threshold (>$1000 I would bet…but likely higher).

    This leaves a void in the market that I’d be happy to pick up.

    5. A rising tide raises all ships

    This market is about to get hot. Damn hot. And, likely fairly competitive. But, what I love about all of this is that success in one company often means success for others. I don’t believe that Phoenix getting clients means there won’t be enough left for me. This market is huge and in it’s infancy…and the more the community can do together the likelier it is that we can show the world that top-tier work can be done in Saskatchewan. That’s super exciting in my opinion.

    Thanks again, Jeph. Being controversial can be a great way to spark discussion and I think talking about this stuff is exactly what we all need to do.

    David, I wouldn’t worry to much about the black eye, it gives you a bit of an edge 😉 One thing I learned in my time in Academia is that discourse is an important part of innovation and learning. And, social media is all about discourse.

    Thanks again,

  7. Jaco van Heerden
    Jaco van Heerden says:

    I just want to say that I do agree with David who said: “Just because something is technically “free” to use doesn’t mean you’ll have the time to use it effectively.”

    And I agree, there is a cost involved in doing stuff with free solutions.

    As small business owners we often don’t think of the cost involved in doing things ourselves. I’m not only talking about managing your web presence. I’m talking about anything that falls outside your core competency… like renovating your own office instead of paying a pro. It all takes time. Time which you could spend doing what you are good at. Time you should spend focusing on running your business.

    I just met with a client who we’ve had since day one. It’s time for them to improve their web presence, so I showed off our latest solutions. Our CMS like any other will allow our clients to keep the content on their site fresh, without having to pay us to do it. Makes sense to me!

    Our client saw it differently, and associated a cost with the time it would take to manage their web presence (blog, facebook, twitter etc.) especially when you consider the effort involved in producing content – finding product images, writing, etc.

    Had i not had this conversation yesterday, I would have fully agreed with you.

    Like always, I appreciate your perspective!

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