What’s Missing In Your Social Media Program?

By January 18, 2010

I strategywas having lunch with my friends Ike and Jacob Pigott recently and we were discussing the state of social media here and across the US. I got on a bit of a rant but I think I had a good point to make. As a strategic marketer it drives me absolutely nuts to see companies (and professional marketers) executing tactics without a solid STRATEGY. This practice seems to be even more prevalent in the emerging social media field. Everyone with a Twitter account is an expert. Every company with a Facebook fan page is “doing social media.”  Social networks are tools, tactics are tools, heck, a hammer is a tool. Would you hire anyone who can use a hammer to build a house for you? I hope not. You’d want someone who could help you develop a PLAN for the house. Not just a plan for putting up walls and a roof, but a plan that would create a house that does what you need it to do. A plan that ties the different systems together in an elegant and useful way.

Then I started thinking about what else is missing. It stands to reason if there is no strategy and your just swinging your social media tools at random people, you probably don’t have much CREATIVE thinking involved either. After all, CREATIVE is what conveys the message that came out of the, you guessed it: STRATEGY.  I happened upon a post by Edward Boches, Creativity in the age of social media. Bam! Edward hit the nail on the head. He says that in social media’s infancy, the the tendency is to “simply abide by the protocols of social media:” i.e. listen, learn, share, engage and be transparent. His next questions are exactly the ones I’ve been thinking about:

But what happens when every brand is on Facebook and Twitter, when there are so many communities and conversations that we encounter cacophony? Will it be possible for a brand to gain notice or attention without it? Perhaps. But my instincts tell me that we, as marketers, will have to get more inventive with our content and that we as consumers will demand it.

We have an unprecedented opportunity for unlimited creativity not just in the content itself but also in how it’s presented and how users interact with it. Have you noticed that the most creative ideas are part message, part meme, part distribution? My two favorite examples that  Boches provides are Nike’s use of the Chalkbot and the Boone Oakley website that they executed on YouTube. See the embeds below and then next time you’re thinking about social media, think about creating an effective STRATEGY and stretching your CREATIVE muscle before picking up the social media tools.

Categories : SocialMedia

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tom martin September 29, 2009


Love that you posted this rant. Even more, I love that I’m seeing more and more SocMe players post a similar rant. And I plan to steal the hammer analogy as it is probably the best one I’ve heard yet for teaching folks the diff between tools/tactics and strategy/strategists.

sschablow September 29, 2009

Tom, Thanks for the comment. There’s still a lot of confusion and lack of understanding out there. We all need to keep on providing information to help educate whoever will listen.

Catie Farrell November 17, 2009

Such a great post and so true in what I have seen and am encountering as companies are over eager to throw up a facebook page and twitter account and then have nothing of substance to say. Nothing excites me more than, as you say, “unprecedented opportunity for unlimited creativity.” Boone Oakley blew my mind an won my heart with their delivery. Loved it. Thanks for sharing this!

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