Marketing Communications tools and media / Marketing communications

Marketing Communications tools and media

Social Media Concepts EvolveSocial Media is a communications TOOL just like a fax machine, a cell phone or email

Lately I've been seeing more and more articles discussiing which department controls the message of Social Media: Marketing or PR? I actually was asking that question a year ago in an article entitled "Who leads the charge in Social Media? Marketing, PR, Sales, Customer Service, Who Knows?" It's a year later and the various Social Media platforms have evolved with massive increases in adoption rates and a larger glaring problem has emerged: The very concept that Social Media is 'Marketing'. It's not. It's a communications tool.

As the platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and now G+ have evolved more and more marketing people have started to develop strategies to utilize the various platforms functionality. Strategy is useless without a tactical implementation plan. So marketers have developed Social Media editorial calendars that are built with the hope that the platforms don't change their API's and the dashboards actually post the message. The concern is more about will the technology continue to work when the real tactical quesiton is "how will it be utilized by our COMPANY.

This is where large company heirarchical structures tend to impede rather than help the effort. The reason Social Media works so well for smaller companies is because of the mere fact that they are smaller. The decision making and internal communications structure all lie with one or two people wearing multiple hats.

Large corporations tend to silo who controls what. The idea that "that's not in my wheelhouse" is taken for granted. Every department knows better than to stick their nose into someone elses 'area of expertise" That's where the problems begin with Social Media implementation.

Social Media Tech AdoptionBut really there are two problems and I have to acknowledge the first before getting to the bigger problem facing Social Media implementation today. So here goes

Explaining how Social Media works

I had a discussion with the President of a pretty large organization about what he wanted to do with a specific Social Media platform. When he was finished explaining what he wanted to make happen he asked me "Can it do that?" I explained "Yes, it certainly could", BUT, the problem was the limited understanding of the "tool" he wanted to to do it with and how it functioned. I explained that if we compared the Social Media platform he was talking about to the the Navy he was essentially saying that he wanted to float his aircraft carrier up the Straight of Hormuz and then drive it into Baghdad. "Can it be done? Can you put wheels on the carrier and drive it?" Sure. But it's not the best solution. There's another platform that does that function you want better. So the first problem is a lack of understanding of the capabilities of the various platform amongst company managment. Anyone who manages Social Media for any amount of time realizes this. Just like the Navy has it's core competency so does the Army, Marines and Air Force. Getting them to work together in a unified front faceing effort is the key to success. That's the first problem. Unerstanding which tools are best suited to which capabilities and then which departments are best suited to perform the requirements.

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