BrainTrust Query: Social Media Can’t Save You!
Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail
Prophet Consulting blog.
There’s an epidemic taking place. Brands big
and small are rushing into social media. In many cases, several months down
the road they find themselves disappointed with the results and disenchanted
with social media in general.
Case in point: I was recently speaking at a conference
to a full auditorium of marketers. I asked how many of them were doing some
degree of social media marketing. Most of the hands in the audience went up.
The next question was: "How
many of you are disappointed with the response you’re getting." Again,
most of the hands in the room were raised. And this is usually the case. I can’t
tell you how many other businesses I speak to that have a basic Facebook fan
page and a Twitter feed and not a lot of love or money to show for it.
my experience however, that these problems rarely have much to do with the
value or effectiveness of social media. In most cases, the problem is that
brands simply aren’t in shape for social media in the first place.
They lack definition, position and purpose. Their story is lackluster and their
consumer value nebulous. In some cases, internal communication is so poor that
it makes outward communication almost impossible.
Here’s the thing. Social
media is not a modifier; it’s an amplifier.
It doesn’t change your brand’s voice; it just turns the volume
up to eleven. If your brand has nothing to say, no story to tell, social
media will only amplify the uncomfortable silence. The result will be that
every tweet, post and update aimed at building community around your brand,
will simply confuse, disenfranchise and disappoint more potential followers.
can be installed in the ignition systems of cars to prevent drunk driving.
It’s too bad we don’t have the same kind of apparatus
available before starting social media programs. In lieu of something more
sophisticated, here’s a very simple brand sobriety test. If you fail,
the key on social media!
- If you didn’t work for your brand, would you care that it existed?
- Do you have a product or service story to tell that people should even
give a damn about? Something that excites inspires or entertains?
- Can you articulate your unique value in one or two short sentences without
- Will what you share with people be so valuable, interesting or remarkable
that they will not only notice it, but also enthusiastically share it with
If you don’t have solid answers to these four basic questions, then social
media won’t save you. In fact, it might hurt you.
Gary Vaynerchuk, author
of The Thank You Economy, recently said, "There’s
more original content created today in 48 hours than there was from the beginning
of time until 2003." In other words before you tap customers on the shoulder,
you better have something valuable to say.
Discussion Questions: Do you agree with the author that many brands lack sufficient “definition, position and purpose” to reach customers through social media? Are many only exposing flaws around their brand’s ’story’ or ’voice’ in pursuing social media? Or should social media be used as a rallying point to improve a weak brand?