We Lost Our Social Media Way

08/24/2011

Signs which-way-to-go Once upon a time, in the days when blogs were beginning to make their way into the world of marketing, customer service and branding  blog content was created by CEOs, CIOs and others within the organization who were brand and industry knowledgeable. They were (for the most part) people who had a distinct point of view and, more than not, some prestige within the enterprise.

Posts were valued as nuggests of insights and supported business goals. However, the secret of blogs went beyond providing content. The world was introduced to the real people behind the brand. These real people were using blogs as a key to open doors to building important stakeholder relationships. 

Sure there were challenges .. lots. We were building a new way of communicating that ripped open the Wizard of Oz curtain. We learned to create 'gard rails' and 'house rules' that still allowed for authenticity.

From a recent Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid post - 

.. it was hard work. You had to write a lot, every day. And you had to be a good writer with something to say. Or else it would wither on the vine.

In other words, the barriers to entry were high, in terms of both talent and energy required.

Then came the social networks and the slide from fully developed ideas to posts that required only 140 characters in a tweet or 420 characters in a Facebook post. (I must tell you I <3 Twitter and social networks that provide opportunites to build community.) Something interesting began to happen in the world of social media. 

Perhaps it was that writing short was perceived as a "throw away" that anyone one could do. Perhaps it was that since many students had spent their high school and college years playing on Facebook that it appeared easy to do. Perhaps it was the perception that if celebrities like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber were tweeting than The Twitter was indeed little more than a toy and not a real business tool. How important could it really be?

Marketing managers realized that updating social media networks could be time consuming. Since The Twitter and Facebook weren't really important, why waste the time of the important people?

Light bulb An ah ha moment! I-n-t-e-r-n-s, who more often than not, were here today, gone tomorrow and junior employees, who had little experience with the brand and less with strategy, were tapped.

Silly marketing managers gave control of builidng relationships in these new socal networks to people with limited brand  .. their brand .. experience. 

Somewhere along the way we as marketers lost our way.

We lost our way in our thinking .. short didn't require smart or brand savvy.

We lost our way in thinking ..  playing with new technologies were the same as building tactics based on strategy.

We lost our way in thinking .. creating games using new technologies equated to "social media."

We lost our way in thinking .. anyone could represent our brand if the "conversation" was short.

On MSN Business On Main post, The Runaway Brand: Who's Tweeting For YouJoanna Krutz provides a series of tips. Her point of view is that with strucure and guidance interns and junior staff can create social network content. I might align with her thoughts regarding junior staff but I would be very cautious about bringing in interns to serve as the front line voice of your brand. Skip over to BOM and let me know your thoughts. 

By the way, Joanna mentions the now imfamous Chrysler Twitter debacle in her post. Ed Garston, head of electronic media for Chrsler, told me the back-story in a Diva Maketing exclusive interview

Graphic credit: Hungry Health Happy The Adventures of Mr. Riley

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Comments

There is no doubt that the internet has forever changed the world in which we live. So it can only be expected that it would change the way we sell and marketing our businesses globally.

Online Business Virtual Assistant

Posted by: eBay Virtual Assistant on Aug 27, 2011 2:22:25 AM

It is all about adapting is it not? Social media presents different challenges to branding oneself than face to face does. Social media does allow you to get to more people faster and that is what many of us are after.

Posted by: Michael Said on Aug 28, 2011 4:45:27 AM

@Michael - I wonder .. more people faster .. is that what we really want? or is it more qualified people who are more likely to turn into customers and remain customers?

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg - @tobydiva on Aug 28, 2011 9:54:43 AM

It's definitely been a bit of a mistake that companies have made in not taking social media seriously (while having fun with it).

Social media can make or break a company - I mean, look at how many companies advertise purely using Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. Look at how quickly bad news travels using social media.

Ugh, I'm babbling. Anyway, yes, I'd definitely be wary of bringing in interns to handle social media stuff. Sure, hire somebody specially for those platforms (because they can be overwhelming for someone that has to concentrate on Twitter + facebook + Tumblr + the blog + phones + filing, etc) ... but make sure they know all they possibly can about the brand, what you do and that other information is within easy reach.

Posted by: Melissa Wright on Aug 29, 2011 3:03:33 PM

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