Monday, 8 November 2010

If you haven't got anything to say, keep quiet.

This might be a bit of a rant, so sorry about that. But there’s some stuff being spouted by so-called social media gurus/experts/thought leaders [delete as appropriate] that’s driving me nuts.

The latest is a post I saw today by someone who shall remain nameless about the ‘optimum’ number of tweets you should send in a day (apparently it’s 22). This gem of marketing information is designed to help companies understand and plan how much resource they should throw at Twitter.

Is this really a valuable lesson in using Twitter as a marketing tool? Doesn’t it depend on what you want to say? I mean, I could fill up my weekly quota on a Saturday evening in front of the X Factor. It wouldn’t help our marketing much. And if you’re issuing company information 22 times a day, then God help you. And your dwindling band of followers.

It just smacks of the bad old days of PR, when a client brief would come in that made you want to cry, by claiming that one of the PR ‘objectives’ was to issue 48 press releases a year. No news, mind, just press releases.

I’m not pretending to be a Twitter expert (does such a thing exist?). But I think the only thing people care about on Twitter is whether you’re interesting. There are some people I follow who don’t say anything for a few days, but when they do, they really make me laugh. Or are a really useful source of information. There are others whom I’ve un-followed because they do nothing but self-promote.

If you’re a normal person, there will be some days when you just don’t have much to say. So maybe you just shouldn’t say anything. 

And now I'll take my own advice, log off and have a large glass of wine. 

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

No single discipline ‘owns’ social media.

What's with the debate about who owns social media - is it marketing, is it communications, is it sales, is it customer service?

You might as well say, who owns the phone: comms or customer service? Print media: Advertising or PR? Facebook: comms, advertising, customer service and marketing? (Or just you and your mates?)

I remember this debate about search, when it was still a fairly new marketing tool 10 years or so ago. We were involved with Overture as it launched into the UK, and there was a big issue around whether sales, web development, IT, marketing or ecommerce heads ‘owned’ search. Now, of course, it’s seen as a broad sales and marketing discipline and is integrated (or should be) to every part of the business, depending on what outcome you’re trying to achieve. Communicators use search to support campaigns; as do advertisers; as do marketing heads in launching a new product; as do customer support teams to help people looking to resolve an issue; and so on.  It fits into the overall business strategy.

The same will happen with social media. Every department in the business will ‘own’ part of it. PR / comms are becoming much more social. Advertisers are using Facebook, or highly targeted social advertising, and incorporating social media to their campaigns (is the Meerkat advertising or comms, now Orlov has his own Twitter feed?). Search is becoming social; BT Care is a great example of customer service over Twitter; and you can sell through Facebook.

The ‘who owns what’ debate is completely irrelevant. More to the point - where are your audiences, and what do they want to do over what channel? Ultimately, consumers own social media, and it’s up to businesses to respond accordingly.