This is the first article in a series in my new column for Financial Times, in Sri Lanka.
The two questions you’ll get asked the most, should you ever bring up the topic of social media at a senior staff meeting, are (a) “Aren’t these things a total (insert rude word here) waste of time?” and (b) “What are the chances of someone saying something that will damage our brand image?”
Now if you were fool enough to have been the one to broach the subject, my guess is that you would have already done some homework on the subject. If you have not, I hope this column, and the series I am kicking off called Social Media Onramp, will help you when you are in the social media strategy hot seat.
The last time I talked to a group of senior managers on this topic of whether or not to engage in social media, there was a gentleman in the corner of the conference room snickering about Twitter, and another lady offering her ‘expert comments’ on why Facebook posts could be legal nightmares.
Indeed there is always someone like this in any organization! Whether you’re talking of a new logo or a new CRM measure, Mr. Naysayer will always raise his hand and launch his intellectual torpedoes that take the discussion nowhere.
But in this case, rather than ignoring him or becoming confrontational, the best way to turn the discussion into something more productive is to relate social media to an activity everyone at the table loves, or loves to hate: Marketing. And no, this is not a diversionary tactic.
Marketing, you see, has a lot in common with social media. Let’s just focus on the social side of things for a moment. Marketing happens to be the most social activity your organization has embarked on, because it is all about building connections between a product or service, and a person with real needs, fears, hang-ups, friends, eating habits, limited attention span etc.
Upcoming – next week: “Print Vs Digital Plot Thickens … Online!”