Social is NOT…

by jeffhilimire on June 1, 2010

Social is many things.  But people try to make it things it is not.  Feel free to add to this list or correct me if you think I’m off my rocker…so here we go.

Social is NOT…

…limited to “media”. If you say social “media”, I assume you mean banner ads or some other form of advertising on a social networking site or using social profiles.  Social marketing works, but personally I prefer just plain old “social”.

…something your CMO understands (in most cases). It’s YOUR job to teach him/her and everyone “above” you in the chain the power of social.  And if you can’t…find a new place to work.

…something a brand can decide to “start”. It’s already happening, people are already talking about you.  It’s not up to you to start it, it’s up to you to participate.

…something you can dabble in. You can’t (and shouldn’t) just dip your toe into this pool.  Strap on your goggles and dive in head first.

…limited to any one department at your company. It belongs in every area of your company, including marketing, PR/communications, HR/recruiting, IT, customer service, etc.

…a word you should stick “guru” after in your title.

…going to fix your sucky company. If you have big problems, like defective products, “joining the conversation” isn’t going to help you much until you fix those products.  Get your house in order first.

…something you can keep putting off. Unless you want to watch your competitors kick your a$$ along the way.

…a fad. And no, Facebook’s privacy problems aren’t going to cripple social.  It’s here to stay and the sooner you embrace that, the better off you’ll be.

…only about Facebook and Twitter. Your customers are using a variety of social platforms.  Seek them out.  Don’t forget about blogs.

…something you can control. You know this, but it’s always a good reminder.  Prepare for the good and the bad.

…just for young people. There are tons of resources to verify this, here’s one.

…replacing traditional communications - it needs to be integrated with your traditional communications (added by @sherryheyl)

…for the faint of heart or lazy – you and your team will have to stay on top of the game. The meaning of ABC has changed if you want to be successful. I learned it as Always Be Closing. Today it should stand for Always Be Curious (added by @sherryheyl)

…going to fix your business problems. In fact social media will most likely expose your business problems. So clean your house before you invite guest over. (added by @sherryheyl)

…going away. The web was meant to be social. People want to be social. Facebook and Twitter may go away – but people will always find ways to connect and talk. (added by @sherryheyl)

…something you should pass off to the company intern. (added by @msciocia)

  • http://www.concepthubinc.com sherry heyl

    I must be in a disagreeable mood today….
    I am not sure that I agree with the first point. Social is about the media that enables us to connect. Social Media is not about advertising – it is the blog, microblog, video, audio, photo, and so forth that has social capabilities.

    I do believe social is something that can still be started in some industries. When I started long ago people were not talking about some of the industries that I had the opportunity to work with and the goal was to lead those conversations. So many times I see people, especially in B2B companies push aside a social strategy because no one is talking about what they do online – I say start the conversation.

    As far as dabble, that cannot be a long term strategy but diving in without knowing what you are about to dive into can and has been a disastrous move.

    Here are a few additions of what social media is not

    Social Media is not replacing traditional communications – it needs to be integrated with your traditional communications

    Social Media is not for the faint of heart or lazy – you and your team will have to stay on top of the game. The meaning of ABC has changed if you want to be successful. I learned it as Always Be Closing. Today it should stand for Always Be Curious

    Social Media is not going to fix your business problems. In fact social media will most likely expose your business problems. So clean your house before you invite guest over.

    Social Media is not going away. The web was meant to be social. People want to be social. Facebook and Twitter may go away – but people will always find ways to connect and talk.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Great additions, thanks! I think where I'm coming from with my first point is that in agencies and within marketing/advertising at brands, the word “media” has a very strong meaning. So when people talk about social “media”, I think often times ideas gravitate toward advertising to people in social spaces. So I actually think we agree on that point.

    I know its a bit controversial, but I've seen so many companies wait and wait and wait to get into social because they weren't comfortable that they had a fully developed strategy. And therefore, they never get into the space, never learn, and fall further and further behind. So I do try to push companies to jump in and figure it out along the way if the alternative is analysis paralysis.

  • http://www.concepthubinc.com sherry heyl

    A good strategy is one the incorporates baby steps as opposed to push the baby in the pool. Helping a client get into social is A LOT like being a parent. You have to go at their pace but not let them lag behind, celebrate their successes while also helping them strengthen the areas where they are struggling. See the potential but accept the realities (that last one is the hardest for me in all areas of life)

  • http://twitter.com/msciocia msciocia

    …something you should pass off to the company intern.

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