A quick rant: Social media should be used strategically not tactically

Sorry about this but I need to have a quick rant. I have been working in PR for more than a decade and using social media for around five years and the shift I have seen in the understanding levels of social media marketing has been great as the industry develops. I saw a piece the other day about Sony hiring one agency to do everything and thought, brilliant, people are finally getting it.

However, one of my big bug bears now is that people seem to want to use social media on a purely tactical basis rather than actually thinking things through properly. They look for the easy quick win.

If I hear another question like this “can you just place an offer on Twitter?” – I think I am going to explode.

Now I know it is my job to advise and consult and that’s what I try to do but I still find it immensely frustrating when people ask for things that simply won’t work. It used to be the same with the following statement “Let’s make a viral video” thankfully I think we have moved on from that space now because videos trying to be virals often don’t work and they can cost a fortune.

My point is this, if you use social media to share something purely commercial, yes it will have an effect, a very small effect but an effect all the same. However, if you think about how you can help people talk about something rather than trying to sell to them all the time you will find that you get a far, far better result. The marketing of anything should always be strategic, so why is it different for digital channels? The truth is it isn’t and you and I both know this!

So let’s try to stamp out this feeling that we should market everything possible in the vague hope that it may sell one more product because if you actually sit and think it through you may well find you have a fan, follower or better yet a customer for life, not just for that one product!

Does this happen to you? If so share your stories with me as I am genuinely interested. Tell me how you get around people that simply don’t understand how and when social media should be used.

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