Social Media Has A Problem And It Needs To Be Addressed Now
Published Feb. 4, 2014
I recently read an article by Brian Solis
about social media that seems to be getting significant attention from the marketing community. The premise is that businesses don't really have well defined activity linked to goals and results. This leads to poor budgets and a crippled social media campaign from the get go. The article then continues to highlight a study and some key points on how to create a "Social Business Strategy" which are good and valid.
In my opinion, Brian ( and Charlene the co-author ) left out a huge gaping truth about social media. The truth is, no amount of social business strategy will ever feel authentic. Businesses are machines in our economy, everything about a business is bottom line dollar oriented. No matter how much money a business spends on copy writers, strategists, deals, coupons, and promotions, in the end people know its not authentically human. Social media has made it clear that social media is about human interactions, not computer generated spam. As the big players like Twitter, Facebook, and Google evolve to ever more human ranking factors, even the machines will stop responding to these artificial attempts at connect business with humans. Then what?
If you want a real social media strategy that outperforms anything out there today, take a step back, stop trying to make social media more business like and ask yourself, "How do we make business more human?". How does a business feel and sound so authentic people respond to it like they respond to friends and family? Only then will there be ROI in social media marketing and the executives will see the true undeniable value of social media marketing at its full potential.
The answer is [ silly, shocking, dangerous, unbelievable, not gonna happen, crazy, naive, wishful thinking, obvious, simple ]. Let the employees be the voice of the company on social media. Social media is love and passion, its what businesses want in employees but have forgotten to curate ( Exceptions include Zappos, a wild success by the way. ) Let real human beings do what they do best on social media, connect as human beings on behalf of your business. Employees openly tweeting about the business is not a strange concept, check any startup in silicon valley. Employees at any company, out social the marketing team a hundred fold on any given day. The most passionate ones love the places they work and are the best advocates for a business. They already wear the uniform and talk to the customers in person, why not let them do it on social media?
The reality is businesses have to hire good people and they inevitably represent the company. If this implies a fundamental shift in hiring practices and lawyer wisdom, so be it. The first company to embrace employee involvement as a rule in social media, even to the extent of requiring follows, likes, and shares on a regular basis as part of employment, shall quickly discover a rapid ROI on social media.