Social media, is it worth the hype? | Network Marketing

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Social media, is it worth the hype?

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The recent Jonathan MacDonald blog about the fallacy of social media started a big debate here at Network Marketing Towers. We are enthusiastic users of social media, but wondered; are we getting carried away with it all? Jonathan used the recent Bodyform viral to make his point. It was a tongue-in-cheek video response to a Facebook comment where someone had expressed his disappointment that the adverts weren't actually true. (You know the ones, where women are roller skating in white trousers.) The video featured a woman purporting to be the CEO of Bodyform and was witty and well written. It became viral within a matter of hours and was shared and liked thousands of times. It attracted great praise from marketing and creative circles who are calling it the 'campaign of the year' and 'ground breaking'. But, is it? Will it help sales? Does it support brand values? Was it genuine? Or, as we suspect, is it a clever example of how to make a good viral but not a great deal else? Social media and digital are an integral channel to all marketing efforts these days but we believe, in most cases should should be just that, another channel. We are concerned that in the gold rush to be on-line and social, businesses are losing sight of other valuable marketing tools like picking up the phone, PR and advertising. Lots of clients and customers are not on-line, and believe it or not, don’t have Facebook profiles. Things to consider:

  • Social media is one part of the marketing mix. It’s free and innovative but it should be used in conjunction with other forms of communications.
  • Think about your audience. Where are they, what are they like? If your product is aimed at an older audience who are not particularly technology led, then social media probably shouldn’t play a large part in your campaign. The best way to reach the over 70s market remains PR in local papers.
  • What are your goals? Is it to offer another communication channel and encourage 2-way conversations with your audience? Is it to increase visits to your website? If it’s to increase visits – think about who you want to visit. One decent visit from a customer is worth much more than 20 random views.
  • Do you want to increase awareness of your brand? If so, social media is very useful but probably more help in getting opinion leaders to take notice rather than the mass market.

To be impressive (in our opinion) as a digital or social media campaign, we believe the campaign should be genuine, not manufactured as so many now seem to be. So, in summary, yes, use social media as a tool but consider it just one part of your activity. Think about the cost / benefit of activity. If it takes up hours of staff time to be on all channels with very little return then consider rationalising. It’s a great tool and is the way that communication is going but should still be approached with caution.


From setting up Network Marketing in 1996 Jonathan has been a regular on the marketing scene across the North. Being heavily involved in recruitment at the outset he spends more time now meeting potential clients and helping grow the business for the team. Being split across the Leeds, Manchester and London offices gives him the opportunity to spread the gospel according to Network Marketing! And he's really not as old as this makes him sound...