I announced I was moving back to NYC strictly on Facebook yesterday. I tend to post important personal things first on Facebook, since most people that know me IRL are Facebook friends and not necessarily Twitter followers. Naive little me was caught off guard when this personal announcement was suddenly ALL OVER Twitter. Well no shit, Marji.
The most ironic thing about this is that a lot of brands I've worked with struggle with the understanding that it is not about having a NETWORK strategy --> It is about having an OVERALL strategy. I've literally had clients that want me to release news on one social network, but not acknowledge it on another. Or, they want to talk about something publicly, but not acknowledge that same conversation in written social media conversations. What?!
The problem with that is once news is publicly released, you cannot control the public from speaking about it. They have a right to be excited and talk about whatever you chose to put into traditional media on social media, or whatever you put on Facebook on Twitter. In fact, it's AWESOME if they choose to do this. Isn't the point of social having authentic conversations with your consumers? Some brands would die to have consumers just happen to start up a conversation about them on social.
I found the most important thing when coaching brands through this idea was explaining to them that once the conversation has already happened, whether it be in traditional media, in a press conference, or a T.V. spot, it is automatically social. You have to understand that after you discuss something on ANY outlet, it is free game in the social media landscape and has to be addressed. If you don't want it on social media, then don't talk about it in the first place.
Then, comes the next step that it is not just about keeping conversations to one network. You have to create a strategy that allows fluid conversations across all networks, and even across all digital and traditional landscapes. You want consumers to feel like the brand they see in a magazine, is the same brand on TV, and the same brand having conversations with them on social. Having this cohesive brand strategy will allow consumers to identify more with your brand, and set expectations for them. Yes, messages need to be tailored to each network, but, at the end of the day, it needs to be the same message and same brand the consumer is finding on all networks.
Social media is NOT just about social media. It's not a separate department that should be siloed off somewhere. It's a critical tool that can help amplify messages already being sent out through other media. I mean, just break the world apart (elementary, I know) --> Media that is social. Brands can try to fit in a box, if they like, but they will soon find out that it is not a controlled environment where they can harness every single conversation.
Oh, and, by the way, I'm moving back to NYC (Might as well cover all the bases ;) ).
- Marji J. Sherman