As I get ready to attend another Like Minds event tomorrow (one of my earliest blog pieces was about the effect the one in February had on me: Time for a fundamental shift in thinking), I am thinking about the effect social media has had (and will continue to have in the future) and the types of discussions I have been having through the year with clients and colleagues.
A key issue we had all noticed was the prevalence of “Social Media Gurus” (mostly self-nominated!!) who were encouraging businesses to put all their efforts into social media as the ‘new’ way to communicate with existing and prospective customers. In addition, there are 1000s of blog sites offering advice and guidance on how to use social media to the benefit of a business (mine included!), with recommendations ebbing to and fro over what should be the key reasons for selecting which form of social media. But only a very few seem to take into account the most important question of all – how does social media fit into the overall business strategy of an organisation? It’s great to have something shiny and new, but it has no value if it isn’t relevant.
I often work with businesses that may have sorted out a business strategy as they started up (mainly to please the bank manager) and then have left it sitting on a shelf as they got caught up in the operational whirl. This isn’t a criticism – it is simply an observation of what life is typically like for business owners! However, it is also notable how the SUCCESSFUL businesses revisit their strategies regularly and establish mechanism to track and evaluate their progress against the targets they set for themselves.
John Bell, who heads up Ogilvy PR’s global 360° Digital Influence team (and who I highly recommend following after I saw him in action at the February Like Minds) put it best in his article The 5 Emerging Disciplines in Influence Planning in the section where he introduces marketing guru Philip Kotler’s concept of Values Driven Marketing “Marketing 3.0” by stating “The basics of marcom did not suddenly vaporize once social media burst onto the scene. We simply need to adapt them to a universe where social media makes manipulation and inauthentic behaviors near-impossible to get away with.”