November 19, 2010

Buying Social Media

And then we got greedy

Forty years ago, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency developed the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network or the Arpanet - the precursor to the Internet. And that brief blip in our evolution shrunk the world.

"We did radio last fall and it didn’t work."

Four decades later and there is no shortage of chatter about how the online space will do this and won’t do that. And many understand this activity is an augmentation of communication channels which will continue to evolve. The important ingredient is that you need time to decipher how it all applies to your situation.

“We bought television this time, we're sure it will help revenue."

Even large companies with global footprints are gingerly stick handling the social web to engage with customers and prospects while giving their organizations the best image possible. We are all bumping into each other and trying things. We will improve and advance but there is no end game.

There are some brazen advocates of diving in the digital deep end and going for it while others hope to mitigate the conversation by simply not participating in it.

I read a tweet the other day that claimed "every" large brand is in the social channels. I'm not sure who has the massive "every company on the planet" database but even if that were true (it is not), would they use the channels the same?

“We do direct mail. We did it last year. It seemed to work.”

Many still view social media as advertising channels that we can buy like we can with mainstream channels which is shortsighted. There are no quick fixes in any medium.

It happens more often than you may suspect that someone will utter the naive phrase “we’re gonna try it” in relation to picking a medium. We will make mistakes, that's the human thing we must endure. Experimentation is important but not to be confused with taking a blind stab in the dark.

"Our customers aren't on Facebook."

My suggestion is to identify expectations and commitment before taking any choices out for a test drive. Mainstream channels are alive and well and social media are simply opportunities to enhance the effort. But organizations are not campaigns.

Can we buy social media?

knealemann | email



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