The case of the disappearing strategy
Last week, editor Rob Hobson went to a Social Media Week talk with a rather controversial title...
When you go to a talk entitled 'Why You Don’t Need a Social Media Strategy', you expect some leftfield thinking on why brands don’t go into this space with enough forethought. Or too much. You assume that, as it’s part of Social Media Week, there’s a two-step going on here. Of course you need to be in social. Just don’t run before you can swim, or something.
Social media gives your customers a voice, we’re told. If you make a fundamentally bad product, you’ll attract negativity on Twitter. Well, yes, this is true. Of course, if you persistently make bad products and fail to do anything about it, you’ve probably got more to worry about than someone inventing the hashtag #companyfaillmao. Because no one’s buying your stuff, your share price is in the toilet and you can’t afford to pay the lease on your offices.
Chris Heffer, part of SAP’s sales team, leads this talk. He shows us companies that died because they failed to evolve and CEOs afraid of the power social media gives to their employees. Chris' opinion, clearly, is that social tools can engender cultural change – and while embracing it can have unexpected ramifications, you should be prepared to roll with it.
All this left me thinking: what is the point of a brand being 'social'? The fact that you, as a brand, are asking the question is the key. That point may be different for everyone. You might find it works as a customer-service channel. Or to crowdsource ideas. Or to market, or sell, or showcase, or just to listen to your customers and get a better idea of who they are. Set yourself and your agency targets. Review them regularly. Be prepared to adapt if the social web decides it has other ideas. Of course you need a strategy. I think Chris knew that all along, the cheeky tyke.