Two different ideas converged for me during the opening day of Social Media Week LA. The first was the conference theme: the invisible hand: hidden forces of technology. The second was a comment from Jim Squires, director of market operations at Instagram, about how brands can stand out by fitting in.
Let me explain.
Technology and social media are advancing rapidly and changing the way people communicate – and by extension, how brands interact with people as well. The change is real and fast and inevitable, but it is also hard to see in the moment.
The temptation for brands is to wait for social media to “settle down” before fully embracing it; let other brands figure out b-to-b social media marketing first, for example, before getting in the game. The problem with that approach is this: the invisible hand of technology isn’t slowing down, and it may be accelerating. There are real risks if your competitors figure it out first.
That brings me to the second point. Social media isn’t rocket science and agencies often use industry-speak to complicate otherwise straightforward principles. Companies don’t need to reinvent the social media wheel to be successful. In fact, what they need to do is fit in more, as Jim Squires explained. Be true to your brand and the social channels that make strategic sense. Learn from your community and how they prefer to interact, and design campaigns based on their preferences. It’s hard to go wrong if you start with that foundation.
Why is your brand fearful of social media and how can we help you put the invisible hand of technology to work for you?
Matt Cochran is a vice president at Cookerly PR.