By sschablow January 18, 2010
I was 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.