There is hardly a moment goes by without someone in business searching for terms like “the best marketing tool” or “the top social network for marketing” or some such phrase. Indeed, at workshops I run I am always asked things like “what is the number one way of getting more traffic to my website” or “what is the best way of selling our products online”.
All of these search phrases and questions signal one thing – people are looking for a “quick fix”, an easy solution, the least difficult path.
Now, to some extent that is natural. Our brains have a deep-seated desire to do things with the least amount of effort. It’s all about the human body’s need to conserve energy and not spend too much needless effort. It is part of our survival mechanism.
But sometimes we take it too far and look for the easy way out when that might not be the best idea.
This is highlighted in a study from the University of Washington published this week on the topic of Digital Activism. In the most comprehensive research of its kind the researchers found that social media were widely used by activists trying to get governments to change policies. They found, for instance, that activists were months ahead in their use of social media compared with the governments who lagged behind considerably. The study also discovered that one single social network was insufficient for success. It turned out that a combination of different social media was usually the best at getting campaigns noticed.
However, there is a caveat to that finding. For some campaigns a particular combination of different social media worked well. But for other campaigns a similar combination failed to help. In other words you cannot say that if you use a certain combination of social media it will automatically lead to success. It turns out there is no way of predicting which social networks will actually help or which combination.
In other words the only option is to consider the specifics of each campaign and then test and monitor and adapt if necessary.
In business it is almost certainly going to be the same. There is no single way of saying that a certain combination of marketing activities is going to work. What you have to do is consider the specific circumstances and the particular marketplace and its demographics and then choose a combination of online activities that are most likely to work in that situation. Then you have to put measurements in place, test your results and adapt and change if your test results do not prove successful.
This means that there is no “quick fix” to making more money online. Instead it requires thoughtful planning, testing and monitoring your results.
Sorry I couldn’t make it easy for you.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+