It’s free and the intern can do it, right? He is a millennial after all.
After the initial flurry of businesses flocking to social media it became clear that only a few actually got it.
The thing about social is that it is fundamentally that – social. And social doesn’t belong to brands or corporations, it’s a 'people thing'.
Therefore, it’s not a place where you can blindly push messages through hoping someone will see them and miraculously click on them.
Nevertheless, everyone felt they had to "do" social. And most did. But then the laziness crept in.
Businesses, often marketing and PR departments, started following a quick recipe for "doing social":
- Create FB, Twitter, Linked, (insert shiny new social network here) for the company / brand / department
- Broadcast self-promoting messages already crafted for other channels into social
- Record the number of likes, retweets, and so on, then report back to management
This was fine for a while but then the era of engagement rose: "we can’t just blindly push messages; we need to engage with our audience".
So this meant brands started turning those self-promoting messages into questions that would benefit them and not necessarily their fans.
Either this or they would jump on the bandwagon of any trending topic, whether it related to their brand or not.
This is all wrong, lazy and fundamentally useless.
Moreover, it wastes time; both that of your team and your target audience. You might as well not do it.
To succeed in social you firstly have to stop being lazy – and this means taking brave steps and deviating from a one size fits all approach.
I think brands are missing a huge trick if they’re still seeing social media as merely an outreach-and-engage tool.
Technology has evolved so that we can learn so much more and do so much more with social media, but a lot of PR teams haven’t evolved with it.
Most social media platforms are still only catering for what I’d call the "listening stage" of social media usage, which not only places a strain on in-house teams and agencies to make sense of the data retrieved, but mostly undermines the true potential of social media to be strategic planning and decision making.
The key to getting real meaning from social media is to analyse social media data and what it tells you about the interests and opinions of your target audience.
Demographics and other customer information are good to have but, when it comes to igniting a connection between your brand and your customer, it’s all about applying this information in order to achieve an emotional connection; sparking an interest that will resonate with your target audience.
Social media can provide detailed insight into what content experience your customers want to be served up; brands and agencies that go the extra mile will listen to this and use it.
Whatever medium you’re using to connect with and influence your audience, you should always use the tools available to do your research and inform your strategy.
Why would it be any different with social media? It’s time that businesses stop seeing social as a tag-on.
If you’re going to be lazy about your social media you might as well not bother.
The key to success lies in knowing your audience’s behaviour on social channels and creating campaigns that take that into account.
Social is not free, it’s not easy and it’s certainly not effortless. So stop being lazy.
Luke Moore is EMEA sales director at Crimson Hexagon