Social media is obviously the hottest topic in marketing and communication circles these days. Everyone is working to figure out how to monetize, leverage and market these new media (are they still “new?”) tools for themselves, their businesses and their clients. And there’s little wonder why – the power and appeal of connecting with real people, in real time is already being documented online and in published tomes.
And presented at social media conferences across the planet.
It seems as if every other week there is a social media conference whose attendees flood my Twitter stream with the official hashtag, blasting out the nuggets of wisdom from the speakers.
But here’s the reality: Social media is really pretty simple. The setting up of an account. The use of the tools. Staying on top of the conversations. All of it. It’s very, very easy to do. With very little guidance, anyone, regardless of age or technical knowhow, can be up and connecting.
What’s hard is translating these simple tools into meaningful marketing or communication channels. But that’s no different than television, radio or print media. Not just anyone can create an award-winning commercial, an eye-catching print ad or a memorable billboard. That’s why you hire or find talented people to help you do those things.
All of these social media conferences, social media experts on their social media sites, and social media books are creating an air of mystery and difficulty around what are very simple things. I can only imagine that some may think, “If this many resources are needed to learn about social media, it MUST be difficult.”
I think it’s time that we shift our social media obsession to a marketing/customer service/human resources/fundraising focus – whatever is your current role in your company/organization. Let’s go back to having marketing conferences. Customer service summits. Human resources workshops. Fundraising expos. Let’s focus on doing those things – the tasks on which we’re actually evaluated – amazingly.
If we start doing that, I believe the social media opportunities will present themselves as a result of our excellence. You’ll have to create a Facebook page – or assume management of a fan-created one. You’ll have to create a YouTube channel to collect all the wonderful fan-made videos in your company’s honor. You’ll have to set up a Twitter account because your customers will demand that you listen to their complaints there.
Who’s with me?
Full Disclosure: I have previously conducted, and likely will in the future conduct how-to seminars for social media tools. I recognize my hypocrisy. With this post, I’m trying to suggest that we work to get people over whatever minor technology barriers exist and then move on, using our industry-related knowledge to help people figure out how to be better at their job.