This post is part of a blogging series by marketing students at the Presidio Graduate School’s MBA program. You can follow along here.
By Jake H. Wise
If you want to create and maintain long-term relationships with customers, social media is the answer. If your company does not have a social media presence you lack credibility and relevance.
Sound familiar? But what does this mean exactly? Does social media represent a social marketing tool for targeting and segmenting one’s customer base? Yes. Is it a panacea? No. Can presence lead to backlash? Absolutely.
Referencing social media as a solution is at best, incredibly vague and at worst, completely useless and bereft of insight. It is akin to recommending that a company have a website, or that they should seriously consider advertising. It is a recommendation with broad application that is neither strictly accurate nor reliable for every situation. It lacks the requisite specificity. It’s a safe rule of thumb that has currency with those who are behind the curve.
Different channels are appropriate for different audiences. And having a presence carries with it non-trivial internal and external branding implications. A strategy must be employed, as in any other marketing approach. Prior to establishing presence a company must understand and prepare for what that means. And the benefits and drawbacks that come with shining a spotlight on yourself. Monitoring and triage protocols need to be formulated prior to launch and a sufficient amount of time needs to be allocated to both.
Strategy means saying “no.” Exposing your organization to new media in all its forms will likely spread resources thin. If you feel like you are getting into the game a little too late do not try to make it up quickly. Building credibility, and subsequently trust, requires time and consistency of message.
Certain forms of social media, if implemented appropriately, can serve to align with an organization’s sustainability goals. Both social media and sustainability are vehicles, characterized by decentralization, shared responsibility and transparency, and their virtues are a result of the intent of the user. Both ultimately define progress through a crowdsourced process, vetted by many eyeballs, and kept honest by virtue of the fact that there is no concentration of influence.
Social media presence, if implemented appropriately, possesses the ability to support an effective marketing campaign and change the world for the better.