The trouble with social media is…

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Well fill in your own blanks here….says Richard Medley, managing director of Nexus Communications Group

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but so is too much information. Both can lead to confusion when what is needed is some straight talking that can elicit the ‘ah…’ moment you need to feel more comfortable with the reality of today’s communications canvas.

And while everyone’s (not always openly admitted) worries are different, we take a look through our food and drink tinted lens at some of the core questions that are asked, to share start points and solutions that are not as complex as you might fear.

Starting with ‘It’s not commercially measurable”:  well if you are using ‘social‘ as a pure sales canvas you are probably right, but then if that’s your approach you are probably doing it wrong and missing the right starting objectives. If you focus on content, and imagine yourself as a magazine editor rather than brand manager you will be in a better place, encouraging a returning readership and interactions through the stories you tell. Measure the interaction to see the real impact on business results.

That’s because social media is word of mouth, captured. When was the last time you talked to a friend about a product without some kind of colour context that made it interesting….much of which now comes from layers of social media overlaid as part of a smart marketing plan

So also measure recall, relevance and shareability around the content for commercial understanding. This is ‘business intelligence’ waiting to be grabbed

But if your priority is that “I’m not getting enough ‘likes’”, then you may be falling into the trap of treating social media as just a reach opportunity. Scale is an important factor that gets everyone in the business sitting up and listening, if you have a large number of fans talking positively about you and the content you’re sharing. But a passive set of likes is of little value.  What is just as important is finding, nurturing and engaging with key influencers – using the few to reach the many – and therefore it is often as much about listening as it is about talking to find these gatekeepers to sharing content

 “I don’t know who should own social”:  Think digital rather than purely social and it comes back to a joined up marketing strategy. There is a place for advertising here, but not without real PR engagement. There is a place for beautiful design to gather people around, but not without ‘always on’ listening and storytelling. And there is a place for mass outreach, but not at the expense of talking to the influencers to be the real brand advocates. PR skills tend to be deliver the social glue and flow, but the broad mix of disciplines need to be aligned or you risk ideas without cohesion.

Next time….? Nexus looks at social and its seismic influence on crisis management.


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