Trevor Young, the PR Warrior, has a great blog post titled Forget Twitter: Start Acting and Caring Like Human Beings – which is all about how some companies really need to step back from the whiteboard and actually think about why they’re using social media.

…getting confused between simply using social media tools because, well, everyone’s using them, and leveraging them strategically to open up your business and communicate with people in ways that are meaningful, respectful and that have impact on an ongoing basis.

Forget the tools for now. The moment you start thinking about channels specifically – around ‘what’ platforms you should be on – your social media efforts will be severely compromised.

Instead, start asking why you should be on Twitter? Why should you have a Facebook presence? Why should you produce videos for YouTube?

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I’ve worked for several organisations in the past that thought quite fervently that they just had to be on Twitter or Facebook, mainly because execs had seen a really snappy powerpoint presentation at a conference but really in essence they didnt really understand the why.  They were too engrossed in the what.

Companies whose social media presence just doesn’t add value to either the business objectives or more importantly address how being on social media enhances their customers experience of interacting with them online are really missing the point.

Out of these two issues, I definitely think that it is the second one that is the most important when considering social media. But for many organisations the “why?” question is just not considered, they are too concerned with just doing what everyone else does or says that they should do.

To my mind, there isn’t a lot of mental rigour or strategic oversight going on when you do something without thinking “why are we doing this exactly?

In our hyper connected world, our lives are increasingly spent online where we are exposed to countless adverts and promotions that try to leverage old world marketing techniques in the new world of digital.  What I am increasingly feeling when I am online on either Facebook, using mobile apps or just browsing the internet is that the way that the majority of companies approach using these platforms for advertising just doesn’t cut it with me anymore.

tX60rI was bemoaning just the other day the intrusive nature of sponsored posts on Facebook and how updates my own friends were being drowned out by sponsored posts advertising all kinds of things that I am JUST NOT INTERESTED IN.

I know Facebook needs to look to monetize it’s gazillion members for it to be a profitable publicly listed company, but I am not sure that the way they are doing it is right, especially in the mobile space.  I am sick of seeing ads and promos that just dont give me any real reason to interact with them.  They’re flat, boring and totally one dimensional.

More importantly, I dont want these posts to take precedence over my friends posts just because someone has paid $2.50 to do so.  I would rather pay to use Facebook, free from ads than have my “social” feed polluted with adverts for stupid game downloads or ads for Jeep or whatever else is popping up in my feeds today.

As Trevor points out in his post, instead of trying to be on every social media channel, brands and companies really need to think about what they are trying to do with social media as opposed to just being on all platforms because that’s what everyone is doing.

Because of this gold rush type of mentality, I am actively considering downgrading my usage of certain social media platforms and starting to ramp up usage of social media that I can exert more control over by choosing to interact with brands on the terms that I want.

In my opinion, online marketers need to be careful not to kill off the golden goose of social media by making it just a carbon copy of all the previous forms of media that have drowned in advertising.


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