Recently Captain Tom’s 100 lap challenge has got me thinking about the whole question of marketing and social media marketing in particular. It made me realise, there are a lot of parallels between marketing and buying premium bonds. To illustrate this, and in tribute to Captain Tom’s efforts, I would like to take you through my 3 ways in which Social Media Marketing is like investing in the premium bonds
1. You have to be in it to win
Firstly, you have to be in it to win and how much you invest does matter. With premium bonds, investing £100 is a bit of a waste of time. On average, premium bonds deliver a return of around 1.4%. But the minimum prize is £25, so with a £100 investment, odds you will win nothing. In fact, only 1 in 20 people with a £100 investment will win anything. To be in with a better chance of getting your return, you need to make a minimum investment. Exactly what that is is not really relevant for this analogy, but if you want to know more, you might find this interesting – Premium Bonds – Are they worth it?.
Similarly, unless you are willing to invest time in social media marketing, you are unlikely to get significant returns. Social media is all about ongoing & continued engagement with your marketplace, and this needs continued investment in time and energy to deliver. Unless you are willing to commit this, you are probably wasting your time.
2. It’s not all about the big prize
Yes, if you invest in premium bonds, then you might win the jackpot, but you probably won’t. There is currently a 1 in 1 in 43,215,118,377 chance of any premium bond winning big. So even if you invest enough to stand a good chance of getting your 1.4% return, you probably won’t win a million, but that is not why most people buy them. The 1.4% that you are likely to get makes them a worthwhile investment. The fact that you might hit the jackpot is just a bonus!
It’s the same with social media. You probably won’t hit the jackpot like Captain Tom (Global coverage of his story, a number 1 single – and £28,310,754 pledged-at the last count). But I am sure that is not why he did it. He originally wanted to raise £1000 and would have been very happy if he had hit that target. The fact that it went viral, spread globally and raised such a large sum is a bonus. The fact is that even if your own post does not go viral, you can still get consistent, good returns from social media marketing.
What’s more, where social media is concerned, going viral has consequences other than marketing returns. For Captain Tom, it was having to deal with 40,000 birthday cards from wellwishers – but that’s another post!
3. You can always move your investment
With premium bonds, whilst you are invested, your capital is tied up. The only return you will get is from that investment. But if at any time a better opportunity comes along, you can move your investment – withdrawing your funds and using them elsewhere. At that point, any benefits you were getting from your premium bonds investment will stop, but hopefully, you will get new benefits elsewhere.
It’s the same with social media. Whilst you are investing your time and other resources in social media, you can not use them elsewhere. But if at any time a new, better opportunity comes along, you are free to switch your resource to the new activity. At this point you the benefit you get from investing it in social media will diminish, but new opportunities will arise from your new activity.
That’s why part of your process should always be monitoring and reviewing the returns on your activity. Keeping your eye out for new/better opportunities for marketing your business. Just because you are doing something now, does not necessarily mean you should keep doing it or that it’s the only thing you should be doing.
It’s actually not just social media!
As I mentioned at the top of the post. My premium bonds analogy is not just about social media marketing. It actually holds true for marketing as a whole.
- Good marketing is about managed, sustainable results, based on a planned investment of resources
- If you get the big win, that can be great, but also can give its own challenges, but in fact, you do marketing for the managed, sustainable results rather than just hoping for the big win
- Monitoring and analysis of your activities should be central to your planning. You should always be asking – Could I be doing other things to better market my business?
Finally, remember that like investments, marketing is about having a balanced portfolio. It’s not just about one activity, it is about having a balanced marketing mix that develops your brand and effectively tells your marketing story.