I’m out on blogger vacation this week. The keys to TheKmiecs.com have been turned over to a few, select, awesome guest writers. The following has not been edited by me and is the work and effort of the original author. I appreciate the time and thinking that went into this post and hope you will too. Enjoy!
It’s a process, not an event.
Dating is a process. So is losing weight, being a public company and building a brand.
On the other hand, putting up a trade show booth is an event. So are going public and having surgery.
Events are easier to manage, pay for and get excited about. Processes build results for the long haul.” – Seth Godin, December 10, 2009
Respectfully, I have to disagree with Godin. In fact, I think it’s this thinking that’s caused organizations and businesses to fail in the online space. You see, social media isn’t an event; it’s not even a process. Both of these classifications give too much credit to the social space. Social media is simply an extension. It’s as simple as that – a mere extension of already existing business functions.
For the past year, the entire “social space” has been given too much credit and too much hype. I’m as guilty as the next person, as I fell victim to its noise as well. You spend enough time on Twitter and you’ll be inundated with ponzi-like “get rich quick” talk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing social media. I think it’s highly effective tool and it’s something I spend a lot of time and effort trying to get businesses to understand. But if you spend any time online, you’ll think it’s the second coming of Christ.
Social media is not its own entity. It’s not new. Its not innovative. Like I mentioned above, it’s merely an extension. I’ve come to realization that people don’t work in social media. There’s no such thing as a social media specialist, or guru, or expert, or whatever title you want to attach. Depending on what your goal with social media is, the space is simply marketing, communications, sales, etc. Frank Eliason (@ComcastCares) doesn’t work in social media for Comcast, he works in customer service. There’s marketing folks, communication folks, folks in sales. But there is not a single “social media [fill in the blank]”. It doesn’t exist.
We’ve all heard, or personally had, the stories of uphill battles with c-level suites that put hurdles in front of social media implementation. A lot of those hurdles were results of “experts” or enthusiasts approaching the online space as a separate entity. So if you had difficulty getting management to begrudgingly accept your entrance into the social space, why do you continue to treat it like a separate entity?
We’re finally beginning to accept the fact that while social media is about building communities and conversations, it ultimately comes down to sales and profit (see Adam’s post on conversion). With this reality check, I think it’s time to let a little wind out of the social sail. As people continue to trend toward mobile and online applications, it’s a natural progression for various business departments to follow. But let’s stop placing social media on its own pedestal. It’s time to go back to the basics and foundation that got us here. It’s about integration.
So quit talking about social media like it’s a separate entity. Stop acting like social media is this new revolutionary and magical department within an organization.
Until we stop trying to prove ourselves and make a name for ourselves online, social campaigns will continue to fizzle. It’s not rocket science, folks. Take a step back, integrate it with your traditional business plans, and watch the $$$$ come in.
Kasey Skala, owner of the consulting firm Interactive Revolution, focuses on integrating new media and emerging technology with traditional communication strategies for small business and nonprofits. Prior to Interactive Revolution, Kasey spent four years in the financial industry in various marketing and communication roles. He currently maintains the blog, The Electric Waffle. Follow him on Twitter at @kmskala