Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I was recharging the batteries.
In-between sitting by the fire, walking the dog, going to the movies, etc., I got to thinking about Social Media.
It’s gotten so … big.
There are something like 800M folks on Facebook. Walk away from your Twitter account to grab lunch, and there are 1,500 unseen tweets waiting in queue. Social Media has even been given outsized (if controversial) credit for powering the Arab Spring.
Crazy, right? And when you are a marketer? — Unwieldy.
Big brands are managing an overwhelming number of social media accounts, with an average of 178 accounts per company, according to a recent study. (Altimeter surveyed 144 enterprise-class corporations, with 1,000 employees or more, including Applebee’s, Avaya, Caterpillar, Hallmark, JP Morgan Chase, Newell Rubbermaid, and Western Union.)
Companies launched social media with little planning, and without standardized processes, according to Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang. Companies that don’t get control are at risk of abandoned accounts, inconsistent experience for customers, and untrained employees creating a crisis…
“Like a disease, social media proliferation will leave companies crippled — unless they develop a strategy to manage now,” the Altimeter Group said in a report. “Beyond coordination challenges, unchecked accounts and disparate customer interactions expose brands to a host of legal, compliance and fragmented brand-perception risks.”
I wrote about this very issue two years ago. I don’t bring that up to remind you of my prescience (you should be well aware of that by now – heh), but as a signal that this situation is getting worse. Here’s an excerpt from that ancient post:
In the end such companies will have hundreds – maybe thousands – of “stray” Social Media sites/accounts. Inconsistent. Abandoned. Off-kilter. Hardly any of these independent Social Media efforts do a good job of boosting the master brand, yet all of them are still clearly affiliated: dragging down the brand, calling out the lack of strategy.
This is not a call for control for controlling’s sake; it’s a call for planning for brand’s sake.
So, given that it’s the New Year and folks are prediction-happy, here’s a prophesy for 2012…
This will be the year that brands wake up to the need for a sound strategy for Social Media. And this will mean tighter corporate controls. This is the year that “engagement” will start to become boring.
There will be many who shake their fists as The Man buckles down (and buttons up) on this stuff. But never fear, the genie is out of the bottle. The days when the last resort of an aggrieved consumer was the Better Business Bureau or a letter-writing campaign are long gone. Social Media is inextricably woven into the larger mediasphere: monitored by brands and mainstream media for smoke signals that will never again be ignored.
Meanwhile, hey, even if the brand marketers start self-policing (i.e., become boring), we can still chat at unprecedented scale with each other. That part’s fun too.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 at 10:41 am By Todd Defren