Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pour your Heart into It

Last week I examined the dreaded social media checklist, noting that overreliance upon a set of supposedy universally applicable instruments can lead your organisation astray. Despite the obvious limitations of adopting a 'standardized' social media strategy, many organisations continue to fall into this trap; a pity considering that this display of interest alone demonstrates a clear commitment to engaging the customer. That is, it can represent commitment. Whilst a social media presence has gradually become somewhat of a minimal requirement for market entry, it is invariably the quality of the content that dictates the success thereof.

The Music of Social Media
It should be noted that alone, instruments count for very little; it is the passion behind these tools that will result in ultimate success or failure. To use a musical analogy, an instrument is only as good as the musician playing it; and in both music and social media, success is a product of time and devotion. The instrument itself certainly plays a role in the eventual outcome by facilitating our capacity to produce the content, however it is important that we do not develop a mentality in which the tool itself is perceived as the outcome. This is incredibly shortsighted and can result in attention being inappropriately directed at the platform level, rather than at the content production level.

'Passion' Packaged
An initial demonstration of commitment will prove fruitless should the organisation engage in subsequent 'passion packaging'. Content whose production is manufactured by an overabundance of rules, regulations and timeframes will be perceived as stale, and the attention received will as a result diminish. Whilst the presence of a handful of logical limitations will help to ensure maintained relevancy, bureaucratic attempts to control the message will often deter natural employee passion, which in turn is likely to detract customers from engaging. Stale undeveloped content which fails to achieve customer engagement offers little benefit to any of the parties involved. As such, the value offered by such a social media presence should be carefully scrutinized.

Passion Rediscovered
Passion is without doubt the most crucial components for success in any social media implementation strategy. It is imperative that the importance thereof is recognised above that of any individual platform. Passion facilitates the development of the organisational message, enhancing the organisation's ability to engage with the customer. It is precisely this passion that will help to depict the organisation as human, allowing for more developed connections to be made.

When developing your social media strategy, ensure that your focus is not inappropriately directed at the platform level; this is of secondary importance. Instead, focus your efforts on locating pockets of passion within the workforce. I guarantee that by empowering your most passionate employees to openly and honestly engage with the customer, the likelihood of conversations forming will increase exponentially. Remember, the social media is a conversation. Whilst the means of communicating will invariably differ, the value of the content therein is constant. Let your presence be driven by the passion contained within your organisation and success will be recognised, regardless of the platform.

Am I right or wrong? Is the message more important than the way in which it is conveyed? Should organisations decide on the most appropriate social platforms, and then look for the most employees most suited to engaging them? As always, would love to get your opinion.

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