Social Media, the Obvious and Not so Obvious Issues

January 17, 2009
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Social media success can mean many different things to many different corporations (and people) but ultimately success should be assessed by the company itself.  It’s always easy to talk about what another company needs to improve on or work on.  People often ask me (as I’m sure they ask you) what a company can do […]

captain-obvious

Social media success can mean many different things to many different corporations (and people) but ultimately success should be assessed by the company itself.  It’s always easy to talk about what another company needs to improve on or work on.  People often ask me (as I’m sure they ask you) what a company can do to improve its social media efforts or if a certain social media campaign is successful.  I can always say “company X should have done Y” or “company X was not successful.”  I can say that, but so can you, and so can anyone else.  That’s because oftentimes, we look at the obvious.

If a company launches a social media campaign that “they” feel was successful, well then guess what, it was successful; regardless of what anybody else says.  As outsiders or observers it is always easier to critique and analyze something, I do this frequently.  There is nothing wrong with voicing opinions or conjectures, but I think we should always take into consideration the source of the information (being a member of the company or not).  I can share my experiences, ideas, and theories; but sometimes saying “company X should join twitter” isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  Don’t believe me?  Pick your favorite fortune 1000 company and go try to convince them to join twitter, it’s a long and oftentimes tedious process.  I suppose one of the things I’m trying to change in the social media world is this “process” or mindset of traditional marketing.

We have to remember that corporations and businesses don’t function like individuals do.  I can do anything I want with my social media and online presence, but do you think Lenovo can?  Probably not.  A lot of the large corporations have far more to think about than I do when it comes to implementing a social media strategy.  These corporation have far more to gain but also far more to lose.  David Churbuck had a great post on this a few months ago.  David pointed out that Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester was giving out thumbsucking advice and was stating the obvious on corporate blogging.  David then went on to write a guest post for Jeremiah and provided an excellent example of a corporate blogging scenario. The exchange and subsequent posts are actually quite interesting and certainly worth a read.

All of this comes down to understanding the simple and obvious issues that a company has to deal with and the internal (not always public) issues that a company has to deal with.  Both are important but oftentimes we are only privy to the obvious and thus that is what we can comment on and critique.  Every company is different and is faced with it’s own set of challenges and obstacles.

It’s always great to keep the conversations, ideas, and theories going, and I encourage that.  However, let’s remember that more often than not we only see a part of the bigger picture and sometimes things aren’t as black and white as they seem.  Social media is still growing and evolving and I think we can speed up and continue this process if we really make an effort to understand the challenges and obstacles that some of these large corporations are faced with.  I encourage and ask that representatives of corporations continue to make public the social media fears, objections, and challenges that they are faced with.

Am I way off base here?  What’s your take on all of this?

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