I have to credit a tweet from Adam Cohen (@AdamCohen on Twitter, His blog: http://adamhcohen.com/) as the genesis for this post. He was attending the Social Business Summit 2010 in Austin I believe (assumed based on his hashtag). While attending a keynote/panel of some sort he had said the following:
@adamcohen “Social applies in product dev, marketing, sales, customer svc, lines of business, Ops/IT/back office, but some more than others #sbs2010″
I then responded with:
@47project: “@adamcohen Yep…like adjusting a stereo EQ for business, depending on the business needs.”
I just kinda said it quickly without fully visualizing it and then moved on but I started to really think about it and, maybe because I’ve been a musician all my life, the above image immediately materialized in my noggin. So I exercised some of my below average Photoshop skills to demonstrate how I believe social marketers that deal with medium to large companies need to approach social media.
I kind of mentioned this in my last post “A Couple Social Media Observations“, yammering on about werewolves and such. In the same way that there is no silver bullet measuring tool for social media, no silver bullet platform or website that would perfectly serve every customer or market segment for every type or size of company, NOR is there a silver bullet approach or equation as to what tools you should use, in what combination, and to what extent, for your engagement efforts. You can only make an educated guess based on some initial critieria/research.
Everything you do in social media is a combination, an equation full of multiple variables that need tweaking every month, tweaking that is influenced by ongoing metric/data collection and analysis (obviously). While you may eventually find that yes, Twitter is the best tool for that campaign or LinkedIn is the best solution for this initiative, you should never go into it initially with some preconceived notion of what THE best anything is, honestly…
One of the main reasons why so many seasoned professionals struggle so much with the assessment of social media and it’s value or place is that it’s natural state is fairly amorphous because you are dealing with humans. Social media has finally helped translate the gray area in business into something valuable and palpable with the interwebs and all the popular tools. Now it’s up to us to embrace it for what it is.
The Art of Fine Tuning
Even though there is no, and will probably never be, a piece of rack-mounted hardware like the one I created above where you can just simply turn a dial to crank up the Twitter juice for PR, or turn down the Facebook juice in sales, by now you understand the approach I’m talking about. If you run into any blog posts where someone is trying to get the readers to pigeon hole their efforts into one particular app, website or tool, I recommend you move on.
Social media is an ocean full of wildlife and ever changing temperatures and currents, and extreme weather conditions. While you are at the helm of your ship, equipped with senstive navigational instruments (Insights, Radian6, web analytics) to make your way through everything, you know it makes no sense to just set all of them to one setting and “hope it all works out”. You need to make adjustments along the way based on all kinds of changing variables, sometimes frequently. Social media is no different.