Social Media Decision Tree

yes no

Should your company blog? – Yes, all companies should blog. No, your company might not be right for a blog because you want to moderate every comment, or because you don’t really have a goal for the blog, or because your customers just want to eat the hamburgers, not read about what you think.

Should your company be on Twitter? – Absolutely. It’s all about the conversation. No, it means that you’ll have to answer yet another social media phone that’s ringing, and you’re not doing a good job of it on other places you’ve tried, like Facebook and Bebo.

Should your company make YouTube videos? – You Bet! All the greatest things are being done there, like those blender guys. No, because you’re trying to stuff your TV commercials on YouTube and your webinars, and other content that’s as flat there as it is on your site.

The point is actually simple. Coming up with a one-size fits all strategy for dragging companies into social media is just goofy. I could give you another 20 yes answers and another 20 no answers for the way people look to use the tools, and the promises that others make.

It’s not all about the conversation. It’s not a matter of whether you get it or don’t. Like all things, it’s finding what works, building from a foundation, measuring progress, and adapting to new situations.

Pharma companies have to really weigh hard the decision to listen, because it comes with extra reporting requirements. Legal organizations can’t just dive in and blog, because they have to be wary of being seen as offering advice, or insinuating lawyer-client privilege. Marketers can’t just repost any old thing to YouTube, because they might not have the rights for various pieces of the creative.

Projects. Goals. Strategies. Measurement. It’s not all just “make something and something will happen over there.”

Fancy that, eh? What are you finding out that’s different than you originally thought?

Photo credit abhi

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  • http://keithneisler.com/blog Keith Neisler

    I think this strategy holds especially true for non-profits. Their need to get the word out and development of communities to support the services/programs they offer can only be enhanced with these social media tools.

    I work with a new non-profit that is starting to utilize social media tools as a part of the overall strategy of engagement. We see it as an important part of the overall success of the group and are committed to keeping the content updated and interesting.

    Thanks for the article, Chris.

  • http://www.mediasauce.com Don Schindler

    Great post, Chris. And @Rick, tools are tools and the plan is the most important piece.

    The interesting thing with new technologies is that some of the planning isn’t proven – and that scares marketers. What if it doesn’t work? I can measure this down to the minute level and I’ll know if it doesn’t work. Traditional doesn’t have that immediate feedback.

    With the way the economy is going, I would encourage all marketers to upgrade themselves.

    Learn as much as you can about all of these new things so you can be the expert in the house. You never know you may teach another internal department how to communicate more effectively with these new technologies.

    Keep up the great work, Chris.

  • http://www.mediasauce.com Don Schindler

    Great post, Chris. And @Rick, tools are tools and the plan is the most important piece.

    The interesting thing with new technologies is that some of the planning isn’t proven – and that scares marketers. What if it doesn’t work? I can measure this down to the minute level and I’ll know if it doesn’t work. Traditional doesn’t have that immediate feedback.

    With the way the economy is going, I would encourage all marketers to upgrade themselves.

    Learn as much as you can about all of these new things so you can be the expert in the house. You never know you may teach another internal department how to communicate more effectively with these new technologies.

    Keep up the great work, Chris.

  • http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/ Mark Hook

    Blogging and social networking is worth the time dedicated to it, its just that you don’t always see the results of your work straight away. Its a slow process.

    The blog my company has set-up is beginning to generate lots of buzz now – but a lot of time, effort and work was put into it before we began to see the fruits of our labor.

    Check out our Marketing Donut blog – http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/

  • http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/ Mark Hook

    Blogging and social networking is worth the time dedicated to it, its just that you don’t always see the results of your work straight away. Its a slow process.

    The blog my company has set-up is beginning to generate lots of buzz now – but a lot of time, effort and work was put into it before we began to see the fruits of our labor.

    Check out our Marketing Donut blog – http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/

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  • http://www.zlrignition.com Louis Laurent

    We have made it a practice to integrate social networking into our client marketing plans. Integrated interactive strategies produce better results. And when you combine tradtional media to feed online strategies, results are really good. What makes us crazy is that clients think it’s easy.

  • http://www.zlrignition.com Louis Laurent

    We have made it a practice to integrate social networking into our client marketing plans. Integrated interactive strategies produce better results. And when you combine tradtional media to feed online strategies, results are really good. What makes us crazy is that clients think it’s easy.

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  • Anonymous

    This social media stuff a fantastic process!
    I have just started blogging and yet I can still come to a blog like this and take away great advice and commentary from several experienced marketers.
    For my company, I have adopted a strategy that includes diving headfirst into blogging, learning to swim in the shallow-end of Facebook and as of today, I haven’t even dipped my toes into Twitter!
    I know that when I move into other social media or show a video on YouTube, I can rely on great insight from the blogging community.

  • http://www.party2point0.wordpress.com Bruce Christensen

    This social media stuff a fantastic process!
    I have just started blogging and yet I can still come to a blog like this and take away great advice and commentary from several experienced marketers.
    For my company, I have adopted a strategy that includes diving headfirst into blogging, learning to swim in the shallow-end of Facebook and as of today, I haven’t even dipped my toes into Twitter!
    I know that when I move into other social media or show a video on YouTube, I can rely on great insight from the blogging community.

  • http://ronalddavies.com Ron Davies

    Hey! Someone else that GETS it!

    Nice on Chris….

    I haft to admit, I am a little tired of cleaning up the mess left at corporate executive levels by “social media experts and coaches” that give a rule book of all the things the company needs to do to align with social marketing and community.

    Few of them have any REAL understanding of the implications, and the ramifications of this broad-sword swinging approach to what should be a suit fitting to that company and staff and mission, etc.

    There should be a board or something held before people call themselves “coaches” or “consultants”.

    I think you should be in charge of that board, Chris :)

    Well done.

    Ron Davies

  • http://ronalddavies.com Ron Davies

    Hey! Someone else that GETS it!

    Nice on Chris….

    I haft to admit, I am a little tired of cleaning up the mess left at corporate executive levels by “social media experts and coaches” that give a rule book of all the things the company needs to do to align with social marketing and community.

    Few of them have any REAL understanding of the implications, and the ramifications of this broad-sword swinging approach to what should be a suit fitting to that company and staff and mission, etc.

    There should be a board or something held before people call themselves “coaches” or “consultants”.

    I think you should be in charge of that board, Chris :)

    Well done.

    Ron Davies

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  • http://www.timjahn.com/blog Tim Jahn

    It’s so important for people to understand this, with all the folks running around screaming ‘Why aren’t you on Twitter?! You’re not BLOGGING?!?!!”

    Social media is great, it’s revolutionary, and it’s helpful. But it’s not great for everyone, it’s not revolutionary for everyone, and it isn’t helpful for everyone.

    Different tools and methods work for different people, plain and simple. Thanks for putting this out there Chris and as always, asking our thoughts! :)

  • http://www.timjahn.com/blog Tim Jahn

    It’s so important for people to understand this, with all the folks running around screaming ‘Why aren’t you on Twitter?! You’re not BLOGGING?!?!!”

    Social media is great, it’s revolutionary, and it’s helpful. But it’s not great for everyone, it’s not revolutionary for everyone, and it isn’t helpful for everyone.

    Different tools and methods work for different people, plain and simple. Thanks for putting this out there Chris and as always, asking our thoughts! :)

  • http://impactmax.wordpress.com Gayle Thorsen

    This is so true for nonprofits as well. They get excited by Web 2.0 tools and forget that the real key is the organizational communications or relationship-building strategy that underpins them. I can use this post to help remind them that the “shiny objects” aren’t ALWAYS the most effective–it totally depends on what you’re trying to achieve. (Having said that, I do love Web 2.0s shiny objects!)

  • http://impactmax.wordpress.com Gayle Thorsen

    This is so true for nonprofits as well. They get excited by Web 2.0 tools and forget that the real key is the organizational communications or relationship-building strategy that underpins them. I can use this post to help remind them that the “shiny objects” aren’t ALWAYS the most effective–it totally depends on what you’re trying to achieve. (Having said that, I do love Web 2.0s shiny objects!)

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  • http://donotreadthisblogunless.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Chase

    Chris,

    Companies need some good advice, if they get Social Media wrong it could hurt them not help! Great conversation here in the comments.

    Respectfully,

    Nicholas Chase
    http://www.twitter.com/nachase

  • http://donotreadthisblogunless.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Chase

    Chris,

    Companies need some good advice, if they get Social Media wrong it could hurt them not help! Great conversation here in the comments.

    Respectfully,

    Nicholas Chase
    http://www.twitter.com/nachase

  • http://parachutepromise.com Kat McCullough

    Chris,
    You asked specifically what am I finding out was different than I originally thought and the answer would be- everything. Social media is facinating because the rigid lines of traditional marketing don’t apply here. There is a constant evaluation and re-evaluation of what’s working, what’s not, and why. It’s important to not be “married” to any idea or outcome, but there is a huge amount of flexibilty required to do that. Long held corporate buying and saturation presense won’t necessarily work here, it can blow up in your face the minute you try it. I just dipped my toes into all of this about a week ago, so far, I have revamped, modified, changed and revisited ideas multiple times. I must. A lack of flexibilty will cause a meltdown, or worse, kill something before it has even breathed life.
    Thanks for the Blog! As always, your information is invaluable!

  • http://parachutepromise.com Kat McCullough

    Chris,
    You asked specifically what am I finding out was different than I originally thought and the answer would be- everything. Social media is facinating because the rigid lines of traditional marketing don’t apply here. There is a constant evaluation and re-evaluation of what’s working, what’s not, and why. It’s important to not be “married” to any idea or outcome, but there is a huge amount of flexibilty required to do that. Long held corporate buying and saturation presense won’t necessarily work here, it can blow up in your face the minute you try it. I just dipped my toes into all of this about a week ago, so far, I have revamped, modified, changed and revisited ideas multiple times. I must. A lack of flexibilty will cause a meltdown, or worse, kill something before it has even breathed life.
    Thanks for the Blog! As always, your information is invaluable!

  • http://www.openzine.com/jhurlbusinessinsports Josh Hurlock http://twitter.co

    Chris,

    Thanks for the post. This is great advice for young entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur can be hard to get started off the ground. I view having a blog and Twitter as initial steps and then having Youtube videos as the next step. Give people a reason to check your business out through social media and marketing. Then, convert these people to loyal followers because of the great business you run.

  • http://www.openzine.com/jhurlbusinessinsports Josh Hurlock http://twitter.com/JoshHurlock

    Chris,

    Thanks for the post. This is great advice for young entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur can be hard to get started off the ground. I view having a blog and Twitter as initial steps and then having Youtube videos as the next step. Give people a reason to check your business out through social media and marketing. Then, convert these people to loyal followers because of the great business you run.

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  • http://twitter.com/bobonbusiness BobonBusiness

    The more we expose the tools for what they are, the more nothing has really changed. Corp types are always looking for a silver bullet or the next tool that will give them competetive adavantages, so as Chris so brilliantly pointed out,
    “Projects. Goals. Strategies. Measurement.” are as relevant now as ever. They were teaching this in Mktg 101 in the 1950′s, it’s just that Al Gore had not gotten to the “Interweb deal” (what my Dad calls it) yet.

    Just like any other tool, or media, firms and organizations need to adopt, adapt, and strive to adhere to their core mission & plan. The days of hiding behind voice prompted auto attendants, and email blasts are over. Push strategies are quickly being overshadowed by Pull, and if nobody is at the other end ot the rope-you lose.

  • http://twitter.com/bobonbusiness BobonBusiness

    The more we expose the tools for what they are, the more nothing has really changed. Corp types are always looking for a silver bullet or the next tool that will give them competetive adavantages, so as Chris so brilliantly pointed out,
    “Projects. Goals. Strategies. Measurement.” are as relevant now as ever. They were teaching this in Mktg 101 in the 1950′s, it’s just that Al Gore had not gotten to the “Interweb deal” (what my Dad calls it) yet.

    Just like any other tool, or media, firms and organizations need to adopt, adapt, and strive to adhere to their core mission & plan. The days of hiding behind voice prompted auto attendants, and email blasts are over. Push strategies are quickly being overshadowed by Pull, and if nobody is at the other end ot the rope-you lose.

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  • http://coolastory.com sujamthe

    Chris,
    What I like about your writing is you flip things over and make us think differently, so we really apply it to our situation. I agree with you so far in the – there can be a yes or no for each one of them.

    Can there be a no for all of them together for any company/brand today? I am not sure it is an option for any brand. Its possible they might not have the infrastructure in terms of process and technology to make it happen, the larger their size. But can any one industry afford to stay out of all social media?

  • http://coolastory.com Sudha Jamthe

    Chris,
    What I like about your writing is you flip things over and make us think differently, so we really apply it to our situation. I agree with you so far in the – there can be a yes or no for each one of them.

    Can there be a no for all of them together for any company/brand today? I am not sure it is an option for any brand. Its possible they might not have the infrastructure in terms of process and technology to make it happen, the larger their size. But can any one industry afford to stay out of all social media?

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  • http://VitaminOC.com/ Jackie Perez

    Chris,Your right!
    We have to look for what works! What is the point of having a blog or twitter account if you cannot make anything out of it? or if its not relevant or interesting to your market? Social media failures can be very tragic for a company because their credibility is at risk. Many companies do not get the social media concept, and that can be dangerous!

    There was an article in Fast Company a couple of months ago that hit on this subject as well. My favorite example of social media fail from that article was about the Papa Johns Pizza app for facebook. You could order Pizza though the facebook app on your profile- BUT you had to order it a week in advance! Who orders pizza a week in advance? how do u know that you will want Pizza in a week? haha .

    Social media is a great tool! and I would probably be the first one to jump out and advice a company to create a blog or twitter account- but you have to consider if it will actually make sense to do it before you embarrass your company.

  • http://vitaminoc.com Jackie Perez

    Chris,Your right!
    We have to look for what works! What is the point of having a blog or twitter account if you cannot make anything out of it? or if its not relevant or interesting to your market? Social media failures can be very tragic for a company because their credibility is at risk. Many companies do not get the social media concept, and that can be dangerous!

    There was an article in Fast Company a couple of months ago that hit on this subject as well. My favorite example of social media fail from that article was about the Papa Johns Pizza app for facebook. You could order Pizza though the facebook app on your profile- BUT you had to order it a week in advance! Who orders pizza a week in advance? how do u know that you will want Pizza in a week? haha .

    Social media is a great tool! and I would probably be the first one to jump out and advice a company to create a blog or twitter account- but you have to consider if it will actually make sense to do it before you embarrass your company.

  • http://www.thatdamnredhead.net Stacy Lukas

    Boy do I hear you loud and clear on this one. I literally just read another email by a guy who wants me to give a presentation to his group on “the social media phenomenon,” a term that kind of caught me off guard a bit. Phenomenon? Really? I asked him to be a little more specific and he said, “you know, the new way of getting the word out.” While I hardly consider any of this “new” I’m finding more and more people thinking that their company NEEDS to be blogging, twittering, facebooking, YouTubing — and stop dead in their tracks and silent when I ask them WHY. Most often, it’s “because everybody else is doing it,” and suddenly I hear myself echoing mothers everywhere when I say, “If everybody else jumped off a bridge, would you?” I always ask them what they hope to accomplish by using these things. If they don’t have a real answer, I tell them they’re better off not using that tool.

    Truth be told, I too, suffer from “shiny new object syndrome,” to an extent, but I also have the sense to ask myself if Shiny New Object Of The Week is practical and/or beneficial for me in some manner. If it’s not, I look for something else that is.

    Start with the end goal in mind, then work backwards and figure out the best way to accomplish that and the best tools to use, otherwise you’re wasting your time and could do more harm than good.

  • http://www.thatdamnredhead.net Stacy Lukas

    Boy do I hear you loud and clear on this one. I literally just read another email by a guy who wants me to give a presentation to his group on “the social media phenomenon,” a term that kind of caught me off guard a bit. Phenomenon? Really? I asked him to be a little more specific and he said, “you know, the new way of getting the word out.” While I hardly consider any of this “new” I’m finding more and more people thinking that their company NEEDS to be blogging, twittering, facebooking, YouTubing — and stop dead in their tracks and silent when I ask them WHY. Most often, it’s “because everybody else is doing it,” and suddenly I hear myself echoing mothers everywhere when I say, “If everybody else jumped off a bridge, would you?” I always ask them what they hope to accomplish by using these things. If they don’t have a real answer, I tell them they’re better off not using that tool.

    Truth be told, I too, suffer from “shiny new object syndrome,” to an extent, but I also have the sense to ask myself if Shiny New Object Of The Week is practical and/or beneficial for me in some manner. If it’s not, I look for something else that is.

    Start with the end goal in mind, then work backwards and figure out the best way to accomplish that and the best tools to use, otherwise you’re wasting your time and could do more harm than good.

  • http://firecatstudio.com Susan Price

    Thanks for the thoughtful post and the wonderful discussion. I’m reminded of a SxSW presentation a couple years ago talking about companies have a “Vice President of Electrification” in the early 1900s. It was a NEW thing to management, so a NEW role was created to figure it out.

    Also reminded of this innovation chain: Books didn’t kill the church, telephone won’t kill letters/mail, newspapers/magazines didn’t kill books, radio didn’t kill newspapers, TV didn’t kill radio, internet didn’t kill TV. It’s additive, and humans continue to amaze me with their adaptability, though it takes awhile to see.

    There’s a predictable process whereby companies wrap their collective minds around change and integrate it into their cultures. And some of us social media insultants understand what is happening sooner, and help the process along. It’s all good!

  • http://firecatstudio.com Susan Price

    Thanks for the thoughtful post and the wonderful discussion. I’m reminded of a SxSW presentation a couple years ago talking about companies have a “Vice President of Electrification” in the early 1900s. It was a NEW thing to management, so a NEW role was created to figure it out.

    Also reminded of this innovation chain: Books didn’t kill the church, telephone won’t kill letters/mail, newspapers/magazines didn’t kill books, radio didn’t kill newspapers, TV didn’t kill radio, internet didn’t kill TV. It’s additive, and humans continue to amaze me with their adaptability, though it takes awhile to see.

    There’s a predictable process whereby companies wrap their collective minds around change and integrate it into their cultures. And some of us social media insultants understand what is happening sooner, and help the process along. It’s all good!

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  • http://clintonskakun.com Clinton Skakun

    You inspired me to write a post on the very same topic last night.

    I think any company can use social media effectively if they first understand it. Seeing it the way it is instead of thinking of it as another thing to toss money at.

    Excellent post!

    Clinton

  • http://clintonskakun.com Clinton Skakun

    You inspired me to write a post on the very same topic last night.

    I think any company can use social media effectively if they first understand it. Seeing it the way it is instead of thinking of it as another thing to toss money at.

    Excellent post!

    Clinton

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  • http://is.gd/mud5 Amod Munga

    A while back I blogged about this very topic (click my name to view the post) off the back of a discussion with some mates about the nature of blogs and coporate involvement in them.

    Ultimately, I believe not all companies should blog, mostly because blogging is viewed as a democratic dialogue – where the consumers can have their say and corporates are REQUIRED to answer. And without the right to the final say, a lot of corporates may find themselves being put to the sword without any way of controlling the negative spin. There are other reasons but that is the primary one: lack of control. And mdoerating doesn’t help either. Can you imagine the ire of someone who took the time to write a comment on a coporate blog only to find it’s been struck from the record? Major fall-out.

    Great post, Chris.

  • http://is.gd/mud5 Amod Munga

    A while back I blogged about this very topic (click my name to view the post) off the back of a discussion with some mates about the nature of blogs and coporate involvement in them.

    Ultimately, I believe not all companies should blog, mostly because blogging is viewed as a democratic dialogue – where the consumers can have their say and corporates are REQUIRED to answer. And without the right to the final say, a lot of corporates may find themselves being put to the sword without any way of controlling the negative spin. There are other reasons but that is the primary one: lack of control. And mdoerating doesn’t help either. Can you imagine the ire of someone who took the time to write a comment on a coporate blog only to find it’s been struck from the record? Major fall-out.

    Great post, Chris.

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  • http://5691gerg.com/?p=3 greg padley

    I agree. Strategy and measureable goals are often forgotten when social media is discussed. Why is this?
    Regardless of the vehicle (broacast, print, radio, social media) the key questions remain the same.

  • http://5691gerg.com/?p=3 greg padley

    I agree. Strategy and measureable goals are often forgotten when social media is discussed. Why is this?
    Regardless of the vehicle (broacast, print, radio, social media) the key questions remain the same.

  • http://www.backpackeruni.wordpress.com Grant Currie

    Hi Chris
    We got involved quite heavily in a blog project where we had numerous blogs set for different staff members. Basically we jumped in feet first, blogs, video and some attempted podcasts. The biggest thing that we certainly underestimated was the investment in time it takes to run even just a single blog, not just the writing, but also getting out there and getting involved. Likewise with video the production time from filming to posting can be massive, if you let it.
    When we started looking at the time cost vs the increase in sales we ended up cutting back our involvement in social media, as to the board there was little measurable return except for PR value. I am sure that if we had hung in there longer there would have been greater return, but the board got shy because we couldn’t show concrete increase in sales results.
    I guess in hindsight that we didn’t mange the boards expectations as well as we should of simply because, back then we didn’t know what we do now about the things that you have to do to be successful in social media.

  • http://www.backpackeruni.wordpress.com Grant Currie

    Hi Chris
    We got involved quite heavily in a blog project where we had numerous blogs set for different staff members. Basically we jumped in feet first, blogs, video and some attempted podcasts. The biggest thing that we certainly underestimated was the investment in time it takes to run even just a single blog, not just the writing, but also getting out there and getting involved. Likewise with video the production time from filming to posting can be massive, if you let it.
    When we started looking at the time cost vs the increase in sales we ended up cutting back our involvement in social media, as to the board there was little measurable return except for PR value. I am sure that if we had hung in there longer there would have been greater return, but the board got shy because we couldn’t show concrete increase in sales results.
    I guess in hindsight that we didn’t mange the boards expectations as well as we should of simply because, back then we didn’t know what we do now about the things that you have to do to be successful in social media.