I couldn’t think of a better title for what I want to share, but hold on, I’ll explain it clearly. Social Media is often viewed as a race to a finish line. That finish line being one with a million followers, one with a billion re-tweets and one that necessitates being mentioned by a blogger, another blogger and some other blogger. If you don’t finish first, you’re last.
Not quite. It doesn’t have to be — and it isn’t — that way.
Have we ever remarked to a company and said “Hm. That social media strategy is a shitty one.” No, we haven’t. Why? Because social media is so new we’ve yet to adequately form opinions on it. What makes it so difficult to judge is it’s constant state of change. One moment it’s MySpace, next is Facebook, then YouTube, now Search, now Twitter. No wonder it’s difficult for companies to pick a solid ‘social media strategy’ that doesn’t require shifting, tweaking and even deletion.
Another valid reason why we’ve yet to criticize another company’s social media strategy is because if it legitimately is based on people it is generally acceptable. It’s only when humanity is lost and business is placed first, we exclaim, “You suck at social media!” But, we must ask ourselves and be honest — are we making a difference?
This is the truth …
Most companies Let me make that clear- nearly all companies who engage in social media are not getting results, ROI or even the quality engagements they expect. While some case studies and some polls might dispute that, this assumes they are asking an objective person. For those companies, they set their goals on ones that don’t relate to other people. It relates to them; they have to benefit on the backs of others.
As exploitative as social media can become, a company or brand must question their motives, intent and spirit of using it as a part of their business. If a brand won’t super-serve a prospect into a customer, what are they even doing on there? That link is to a blog post chronicling the lengthy journey Evo Terra has been going through to receive a new technology device from Sprint. By all logic (and business logic, even), the cost per acquisition is very high in the mobile phone market, and they could net ROI, brand repair and even … wow a customer.
I’m sure many people have said Sprint has had a good social media program or strategy. No doubt, they invest a lot of resources into it and incorporate (perhaps, validate) social media into their advertising. I must point out that no matter how ‘good’ a social media program is, it’s only as good as its worst experience. I think 27 videos (and the start of a meme) are enough to get a free phone. Hell, 27 videos are probably enough to land a TV commercial appearance.
Am I being too cynical? After all, according to Google, 167,000 people want an HTC EVO. It would seem that giving a phone to an avid fan would not only make him happy that a brand listened, it would also generate buzz, advertising and even more genuine interest into an upcoming phone. By comparison, the iPhone 4G has an estimated 208,000 people who want it. And this is without a million dollar ad campaign; just one blog post showing off the fenced device.
I deviated from the subject here. That’s alright, I’ll reel it back in.
For anyone who wants to win at social media, they just have to win at helping and serving people. It’s remarkably simple and difficult. If a brand begs you to follow them, ‘like’ them, subscribe to them, share them– it’s only fair you expect great service and they are there when you engage them. If a brand legitimately interacts and helps others, they are automatically deemed inferior based on followers/fan/subscribers. This perception is the flaw. This is my point.
I believe in underdogs. I believe a brand with a smaller audience can do well in social media. This is my formal reminder this is not a numbers game. It’s not a race to the finish. There is not finish line. There are no rules. You herd your sheep how you want to herd your sheep no matter what the wolves tell you. I suggest empowering, validating and supporting your audience; after all, they will be the ones who represent you.
I apologize for going off on such a tangent. Sprint has what could be detailed as a solid social media strategy and yet, they don’t listen to their prospects. Considering Sprint is the #3 mobile carrier in the United States, they have a lot of room to grow and a little room to lose relevance …quick.
We’re all losers (in social media) if we don’t make sense of this thing. We have to make our social media strategies make sense to people. Make it relevant, interesting and useful. If not, you’re only shorting yourself and others in the process.