Aug 4 2008
Ah, yes (image source: MacMonkies). Social media. Where to start for so many businesses. Perhaps the beginning shouldn’t even be strategy. It should be… “STOP! Don’t do it!”
Many businesses engaging in social media start with Shiny Object Syndrome. This strange disease that affects the mind causes companies and individuals to adapt the latest social communications tool based on peer pressure, buzz, or a strange desire to be one of the first.
Shiny Object Syndrome usually begins in the CxO suite where an often competent and brilliant executive who knows nothing about marketing or PR stops by a line manager’s office and says, “I read about Twitter today in the N.Y. Times. Why don’t we have an account, Jane? Are we going to lose out again like we did on blogs? By the way, did you see competition X just laid off 50 people. Bad times!”
Of course, Jane creates the Twitter account. Then when she shows it and her six followers to executive X, the response is, “Great, send them links and tell them about our web site!” One month later, Jane still has only six followers, and no new web site traffic. Hmmm, another victim of Shiny Object Syndrome.
Unfortunately, while in the short term placating a need to play with the newest communications toy, Shiny Object Syndrome can create terrific wastes of money. That in turn, can create terrible consequences for marketers and PR pros like Jane.
Getting beyond Shiny Object Syndrome requires the lead communicator to STOP! Then go back to the master communications plan. A healthy evaluation of social media tools should reveal whether or not stakeholders are even using these Shiny Objects. From there you can begin to evaluate whether social media really belongs in your plan.
But that is another chapter in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Social Media.