Social media, marketing, and creative advertising have come a long way since my first venture into the business world (and that wasn’t all that long ago). Likewise, I’ve seen decent companies bring revolutionary ideas to the table, only to disappear within months or a couple years after launch. In the frantic race to simultaneously prove return on investment and justify innovative direction, many existing marketing giants are feeling pressure to adapt and simply avoid becoming an industry laggard. These conflicting needs are a daily challenge for brands and businesses alike.
So, how can a company quickly and efficiently change its perspective on social media? The answer may be “enlightenment through creative and strategic risk.”
A majority of business professionals understand that communication pathways have changed, and so have the vehicles. Only a few years ago, brands were able to gain instant market share simply by creating a presence within a social network, throwing some funding behind seeding the network, and then reaping their successes through earned media and elevated community traffic. In the current state of social media, a brand is extremely lucky to break through all of the chatter armed only with an integrated social media presence. The new world of digital and social marketing requires brands to look at their business through a completely new perspective.
First, I’m a firm believer that business objectives should come first and should never be put at risk purely for the purpose of social buzz. Now, how can you compliment your business objectives through social media? I’m guessing GM doesn’t plan on selling a car because of a tweet, or a truck through a Facebook post. But I do believe that a tweet or a post can help solidify relationships with your existing customers, facilitate new relationships, and create brand loyalists. The value of these relationships and conversations is a variable as diverse as the audience and network they occur on.
Remember, social media is a platform for conversations and a vehicle for sharing new, personal, and unique content. The space was not meant to drive direct sales. With this in mind, you can now explore your tactics through a new lens; one that is dedicated to some basic guidelines of “new, personal, unique and social.” If you were to explore all of the strategic pathways that consumers communicate with online through this lens, you’re bound to discover campaign direction with social steam power. But what good is building steam without the potential to see explosive results? This is where many marketers find themselves stuck – with every entrepreneurial venture comes risk, and risk sometimes results in unconquerable challenges. If you’re able to predict accurate ROI then it’s probably already been done. However, this is precisely the point in social and digital campaigns where you reach innovative enlightenment. You are attempting to explore the path to become an “entrepreneur” of sorts, creating a whole new idea with the tools and unique offerings that your brand or business has to offer. This is your adventure into the unknown marriage of a new strategy, innovative tactics, and an audience that can talk back.
Social media can be the catalyst for a plethora of marketing ideas, and sometimes these ideas can generate explosive movements. In the end, a social media movement requires the right creative lens, a healthy dose of considered risk, and an enlightened organization to be supportive – win or lose.
If you’re interested in further investigation of some progressive social media brands— check out the short list below.
@Zappos (CEO – Tony)