How Fast Can You Move?

Yesterday, after the Oscars, the general news media from CNN to the New York Times began speculating on the way that micro-media like Twitter could change the way that national broadcasts are produced. Richard Robbins, the director of social innovation at AT&T, was quoted from a tweet as saying, “In future, live show producers should have contingency plans to make on-the-fly changes when social media chatter shows trainwrecks.”

It’s a great pie in the sky idea, but let’s face the facts. Most businesses do not move at this speed, and probably should not move at this speed anyway. It may even be a little short sighted to make strategic decisions for a television show (… or a product or service) on the fly. Just In Time (JIT) businesses like Zara and Toyota are quick to meet consumer demands, but they are not that fast. Reportedly, Zara takes about 2 weeks, compared to the traditional 6 months, to develop a new product and get it into stores. But it may be unrealistic to think that businesses can provide valuable product at the speed of thought.

One of the problems with over-hyping social media is that many companies are ignoring some of the most valuable parts of this form of communication as a result of these unrealistic ideas. It may be a safe bet to assume that next year’s Oscar telecast will not include a contigency plan for negative feedback from social media, but we are finding that this often leads companies to ignore aspects of this data that could help them.

After a major event, campaign or product launch listen to the conversations leading up to the launch and right afterwards. We would advise the Academy to figure out what messages the overall conversation conveyed. Not just single posts, but the WHOLE conversation. Segment those trends and volume reports across different time periods and for different aspects of the event (presentation, red carpet, nominees, etc.). From these segments, the Academy can begin to understand what works and what does not.

For the next event, campaign or product launch, use learnings from the previous analysis to start out on the right foot. Social media is about experimentation, and the second experiment should be better than the last. Analyse the whole conversation again three months, two months and one month before the next launch, and continue to change the way you market and to whom.

Navigating social media marketing can be difficult and unknown territory. If individuals are talking about your organization on these channels, they are providing something valuable. But social media is not a one-size-fits-all type of medium. Match the speed of your business with the level of data you collect. Not only will the task become more manageable, but strategies will be more coherent within the context of your business.

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Filed under Corporate Social Media, PR and Communications, Product Innovation