As a social media company, at Feedback we notice two prevailing sentiments from corporate leadership.
No. 1: “We need to be on Twitter because [competitors’ names] are.”
No. 2: “I want to retire before I have to learn this crap.”
Thankfully, the latter we’re hearing less and less, but in many cases people are fleeing to the former instead of a more reasonable middle. This often begins when someone up high finally gets a smarter smart phone. They start dabbling in mobile apps, they become Angry Birds addicts, and all the bright and shiny social media services start to make more and more business sense. It’s not unlike the phenomenon where your mom finally gets into email and starts sending you forwards you haven’t seen in 20 years.
There’s nothing quite like C-Suite-level pressure on communications departments regarding technological and social media needs. You had jobs – full-bodied, fire-fighting, day-and-night jobs – before social media showed up. Then the fires found new places to burn and the amount of work rose, but there was at least a point where you were considered the expert and could make the executive decision to pursue, monitor or ignore certain channels and technologies. Yet, somewhere in the last two years, the number of “experts” seemed to double. Then triple. They seem to be made up primarily of twenty-somethings dubbed social media savants solely because they like gadgets. And then one morning, the boss walks through the door and asks “Why aren’t we on this?”
So how do you respond? How do you filter the stream of information and find the relevant gems that might actually help boost your campaigns, brand visibility and, let’s hope, make you more effective or efficient at your ever-growing job?
The answer is to focus on your audience first. Then the concepts. Those two things will inform your strategy better than trying to understand and keep up with the technology. It’s also, not coincidentally, the underpinnings of our company’s philosophy at Feedback: listen and learn first. We tend to be hypercritical of new technologies, but it’s out of love. We try and take the longview and sometimes we’re frustrated because the promise and the reality is misaligned. Take the well-funded app Color, for example. We love what it could mean, but it falls short. Still, we have to be careful not to dismiss it completely and instead just watch. And that takes a level of patience that is sometimes hard to muster in this day and age.
- Dean (@dbrowell)
P.S. We’ll be examining this and more in an exclusive article in Spectrum, the publication of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) due this fall. Check it out.