For many brands social media is a lot like Jason Statham. It seems to be everywhere, but they don’t really understand why.
Like it or not though, they have to be on board quite simply because their competitors, existing and emerging, will invariably be looking for ways to make that space work them.
But even as this realisation of necessity, if not opportunity, is becoming a universal truth, these same reluctant adopters still look at social media in terms of cost.
A huge decision driver for brands adopting a social media strategy is that it is cheap. I’m not convinced.
Undoubtedly, social media is not burdened by the kind of overheads associated with traditional media. The conversations a brand can have in the social space are infinitely more efficient and fluid than can possibly take place in press, TV or even email.
But to establish, evolve and maintain a prominent and valuable social voice takes times, energy, imagination – simply put, it takes resource.
A particularly apt piece of wisdom relating to social is that getting it right is simple, but not easy. The various foundations and actions required to build a successful social strategy consist of nothing that will surprise you any more than Jason Statham kung-fu kicking someone with his shirt off.
But to implement these actions in a worthwhile way will require a great deal of resource to generate content, communicate it regularly and at the right moments, engage with your community, analyse your performance, refine behaviours – the list of requirements is long enough to be somewhat intimidating.
Of course, before all of this even begins it will take a great deal of time and thought to even establish the fundamental requirements of your social media strategy.
Nope, social media cannot be done for a bag of pennies, half a pack of Jelly Beans and a He-Man figure with its leg missing.
But the idea that cost is the key benefit of social media is something of a myth. What it really offers is control.
Social media statistics are, as a rule, incredibly transient and therefore not entirely reliable. But if as various sources claim, anywhere between 50 and 70% of social media users are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow, then those brands need to be active, interesting and persuasive in that particular environment.
In short, they need to afford themselves a degree of control over the conversations that are taking place about them in the social sphere. Conversations that build relationships, conversations that change perceptions, conversations that make sales.
Social media isn’t as cheap as you may want it to be, but it gives you unfailing ownership of your brand story that is worth every penny of the investment.
And without it you might as well ask a short, bald, cockney ninja to kick you square in the balls.
Follow Andrew Boulton on Twitter @Boultini
Andrew Boulton is a copywriter at the Together Agency. His He-Man figure is broken.
You will be sent a verification email. Click on the link in the email to post your comment.
Opinion, blogs and columnists - call them what you like - this is the section where people have something to say. You might agree or you might not - whatever opinion you have make your views known in comments. Views of writers are not necessarily those of The Drum. If you would like to contribute a comment piece, email your idea to email@example.com.