Anti-social social media strategies

10Aug10

Many companies have made mistakes when stepping into social media, whether it’s from piss-poor planning or just having no clue what they are doing. But everyone is going to make mistakes in such a fast-paced, ever changing environment. No agency or company will every fully get to grips with the industry these days. That’s why it’s so fun.

Social media has been around long enough though that people have seen mistakes being made, made case-studies out of them and are using them to educate people. But I think that all too often one part of social media that people are losing sight of, in the midst of trying to be perfect, is immediacy.

Instant. Real time. Right now.

That is why social media was so enticing to begin with. There was no hiding. Bad news or good news, it was across the globe in 24 hours or less. But as companies get more pedantic, making sure every square inch of their buttocks is covered, they are diluting the impact of social media.

New social media ‘processes’ and ‘systems’ that have been put in place can often times stifle creativity. Some of the best ideas are shredded into nothingness by the time it gets passed around, approved, passed around again and approved one more time.

Forgive me for using the Old Spice YouTube videos as an example (since everybody and their mom has mentioned it), but they are a great example of immediacy. They responded quickly to mentions on the internet. There is no way that if those videos had to go through some of the scrutinizing processes so many ‘social media responses’ have to go through these days, that they would’ve been as successful. The entire idea and purpose relied on immediacy. I’m sure there are things that they would’ve done differently had they more time, but they didn’t and it was highly successful because they realized that.

The issue does not lie in the fact that things need to be approved. Of course, they need to be approved. But companies are so busy making their ‘social media strategy’ perfect, that it’s imperfect just by being. Let me explain…

First of all, social media ‘process’ should be part of communications strategy—not separate. Getting your head around that can greatly improve things already.

Secondly, while developing response ‘processes’, companies need to take into account immediacy and tailor their structure to cater to this medium. Going back to the Old Spice example—they had a process in place to ensure that while things were approved, they were approved quickly. For those companies that want every little detail planned out, you can do so, but do so in a way that demands real time results. So while trying to make sure no mistakes are made, don’t make the mistake of being too slow.

Thirdly, stop being so uptight. Some of the best campaigns come from taking risks.

The point is, so many companies are making such stringent and rigorous “social media” strategies that the result isn’t very social.

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One Response to “Anti-social social media strategies”

  1. 1 ecairn

    Phylecia.

    Immediacy will be there if social media becomes part of a companies DNA. Like email…every one, every day does a bit of it: Read this, respond there, make a friend here, write something within a framework that’s aligned to the companies strategy and business objectives. Companies are very good are putting in place the structure or framework to make things happen on a large scale in the right direction. They’re also known to stifle spontaneity and creativity with too many rules/policies and process. Social media is the tool of the people, it doesn’t work if you have to go up the hierarchy any time you want to engage.

    Laurent


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