Everywhere you turn, there is tons of talk from people telling others what they should be doing in Social Media. Then, there are those that are just doing it.
Cutting through the hyperbole is not easy. Just the other week, I was communicating with a peer who owns a Digital Marketing agency, and they were recounting an incident where they were meeting with a client along with one of the client's traditional agencies (not the general brand/advertising agency, but a niche within the marketing sphere). During the course of the conversation, they uncovered that one of the attendees from the traditional agency side was their newly anointed Vice President of Social Media. The meeting then turned into a game of Social Media bingo as the new VP started saying all of the things that make us cringe from: "you should have a YouTube page!" to "this is how we are going to get a lot of people to follow us on Twitter!"
How's that throw-up tasting in your mouth right now?
Thankfully, the Digital Marketing folks shot back with some highly relevant questions:
- How did you define and scope the strategy and the program?
- Who have you done this for already?
- What were the results?
- Did the results meet the business objectives?
- Was this tied into the overall ROI of the brand?
- How many people did it take to manage the program?
- What kind of analytics and monitoring tools were used?
- What did you learn from those tools, and how did you adapt the program to respond to those learnings?
- What were the plans after the program ended to maintain the new connections that were made?
Blank stares, stammering and lot of shuffling in the seat followed.
In the end, the agency was blurting out tactics and random digital musings in a sad attempt to steal the business away (and, possibly, to validate the new VP's role). Look, we all know that the Digital Marketing industry is new (and Social Media marketing is even newer), and that it's not possible to always find highly qualified professionals who have a real track record of success in some of these spheres, but it's also not so nascent that those types of credible individuals don't exist (they do) and are willing to - at the very least - have a serious conversation about how to make this work within a brand and organization.
At some point the regurgitation of what we've read on a Blog or listened to in a Podcast has to end and the real work has to begin.