I was talking with a business owner the other day about his social media strategy. He mentioned that his business was on Facebook and Twitter, but he never used Twitter, so I asked why he was on Twitter. His response was simply “because I was told that I should be on it because everyone else is”, but he could not give me the reason why he was told to do so. I hear this often in marketing. Businesses follow marketing advice blindly and do not ask enough questions or any questions at all. As a result, business owners become disillusioned with marketing strategy and see it as a money pit rather than a profitable asset.

When you don’t ask questions, anyone can set themselves up to be an expert and you wouldn’t know the legit from the nonsense. I’ve seen too many businesses being taken for granted financially because an agency or individual used the right words without substance or proof to back up their claim. It is when you ask questions and challenge marketing advice that you know if you can trust them.

I encourage my clients to ask me questions…lots of them. I encourage them to challenge my strategies and reasoning. It is through that dialogue that we understand each other better and build a stronger partnership. I am learning from them as they are learning from me. I want them to trust me. I want them to feel safe to express doubts, concerns and…ask questions.

To circle back, I did help that business owner understand and define his audience and to know which social platforms are a profitable asset to him. What we found for a social strategy, Facebook was good, but Twitter and other social platforms were not necessary at this time. The reason? They have a nitch audience that primarily uses Facebook and they would be wasting their time on other platforms with audiences who would not give them a second glance. They asked very good questions. I also asked questions. We dialogued and came up with a strategy that helped him reach his business goals.

Are you asking your marketing consultant or agency questions? If not, now is the time to start.