It took a while. A lot of soapbox discussions and rants on the part of many in the digital and integrated marketing community. But finally the industry is seeing the light. As slowly as it frequently does when shiny new objects are blinding our vision. The chrome finish of social media is starting to rub off and as the actual tool itself emerges, it is becoming obvious how ridiculous the obsession with social media as a strategy was becoming.
Does your car have a “Chief Bumper Strategist”?
Just as your neighborhood car shop doesn’t have a “chief wheel mechanic” and a “headlight director”, any brand that sees social media tools as a field in need for its own strategy is missing the point. Social media is a lever (Horrible business school flashback) of marketing and business strategy. It is not THE strategy itself.
It is simple to see the reason for the many obvious failures in social media campaigns in recent years. Isolated campaigns spawned in the bowels of companies. Great ideas executed without any thought of integration or leveraging of the brand and its assets in other channels. How can we even judge a social media campaign with any kind of reasonable ROI and response measure if measurement was never considered from the get go?
Get to know the social media toolkit
The right structure to fix it? Marketing and brand leaders are the ones that need to know digital tools and most importantly social media. It is THE CHANNEL that provides the most amazing way of engagement, observation and participation in conversations with the customer. But the actual task of executing within social media is not a strategic or isolated responsibility. It is a management and tactical task that informs and integrates with what we as brands do. Not as a peppy little tail that tries to wag the dog.
What does it mean to a brand steward and leader? If you have off-loaded the knowledge of social media to the new kid 2 years out of college that is now your “social media strategist”, it’s time to dig in and get a little hands on and actually know the tools of the digital space. And time to know how they integrate with not just your other marketing assets, but with communications, product and sales channels. If your brand is underperforming, these lessons might just be the key to jumpstarting gr0wth.