Don’t jump on the bandwagon, remember the bigger picture before embarking on a social media rampage. It’s no longer about because we can, but about finding the right solutions to what was once an ‘impossible dream,’ says Vivid’s Rachel Emson.Everyone asks how can we get into social media, no one is asking why should we use social media. As my mum used to say, would you jump off a bridge because someone else did?
Arguments dominate the domains with who should ‘control social media’ – PR’s, strategists, in house, dedicated social media companies, digital agencies…What’s happened to marketing, integration, return on investment, measurability, accountability and creativity?
In a rush to jump on the social media bandwagon, in a frenzy of tweets, fans and virals, ideas are being shoehorned into fit 60” and 140 words, ads are being thrown up on YouTube and VSS’s (Very Short Sentences) tweeted every five mins.
Social media is not social marketing and it is not a replacement for advertising or design and should not be used as such. The very purpose of social media is to be social, so whilst hard sales pitches are a no-no, what you do get is an opportunity to share more, build knowledge and nurture relationships in a relaxed environment. But equally social media is not about ‘having a twitter profile’ and telling the world what your CEO had for breakfast or having a page that is never updated or holds content that bores. It’s about adding value.
BoundariesCan social media work for everyone? Creatively yes – there is a solution to all problems. Technology does allow boundaries to be broken and spread to be wider than ever before. Perhaps an application that makes it easier to offset carbon footprint, be aware of how much you are drinking. Personalised support if you’re giving up smoking, or to be warned in the event of a flood. Social media pages can become a hub for latest fashion trends, entertainment or business news; they can save time, energy and improve knowledge & awareness in one easy hashtag or @ and create credible brands.
But the real question is, is social media the best way to reach your objective?
Social media is not free, setting up pages perhaps, but time, messaging, applications, moderating, responding is all time if not money and engaging with video or application content needs to be both considered, executed well and measured . Ask yourself why are you doing this? What is the over-arching objective? Is it the best way to communicate with your defined audience?
Gaining insights into customers, creating ideas that work for them and gaining victories measured by engagement and end results of actions – purchasing, persuading to choose a product/service or creating behavioural change. It’s not simply about click throughs, views, friends or followers who couldn’t care less and don’t interact – for that is vanity and not sanity, and a bit like having a turnover of several million but a profit of zero.
Does 1million YouTube hits from people who couldn’t care less about your brand work for you more than 100 who are actually potential customers/listeners or advocates? Would you ignore creative strategy for a press advert, yet happily go tweeting with no plan of what you are saying to whom and where? Technology is another tool, in the same way print, out of home and broadcast are.
Yes it is vast, yes it is global, but if your message isn’t then a) why should you care b) why should they care. Social media needs to deliver more a ‘ha ha that was good/funny/shocking’ it must have purpose. Yes social media can be an incredible asset, used correctly it can build, enter into dialogue, engage and empower brands, create loyalty, interaction and up sell messages, products and services, ensuring that it is your brand firmly established in your audiences front of mind, in a relaxed and social setting. But never forget great messages can spread very quickly as can bad.
If you want to have a social page to let people know about social events, share your successes and updates, if you have time and energy to invest then why the hell not. But if you want to use social media to your advantage then please look at the bigger picture before embarking on a social media rampage.
DeliverAny strategy is about looking at media and how it works, dwell time, messaging.
How can we creatively deliver our brand to our audiences in a surrounding that they feel comfortable with. Social media is no different, if it fits with the plan then creative thinkers along with the geniusnous of techno bods, need to be engaged to explore the realms of possibilities, the ideas, thoughts and attitude has to be driven from marketing and creative strategy. Creativity is about insights, informing, driving actions, thinking of the new with purpose, solving problems.
And remember social media is not solus, it’s about synergy and falls as part of an integrated mix. It’s no longer because we can, it’s about finding solutions to what previously has been an impossible dream.