Social Media and The Power to Change

August 14, 2017

Social media channels harness greater power than any medium to date. I’m not talking about power in the sense of reach, audience engagement, or consumer accessibility. No, I’m talking about power in the sense of control.  Not since the invention of social media has any communications channel held complete, rapid control over itself as a medium. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or Pinterest can make changes at the drop of a hat, and this rapid ability to evolve and change their offerings is unprecedented.  And it’s changing marketing.

Look back, all the way back to fifteen years ago. If, as a marketer, you planned to get your message out with a highly-produced ad, a smart TV buy, some magazine placements, and a press tour, you could plan your campaign in January and – realistically – come June (our hypothetical execution time), not much would have changed in the media landscape.  Perhaps a magazine folded, a TV show’s ratings dropped, a spokesperson had a public crisis – no big deal, shift your buy, find a new voice for your PR campaign. Problem solved.

Enter social media, a reality where major changes can take place overnight, and as a result, impact marketers instantly.  So, what should we do?

  1. Don’t stress. Easier said than done, but when major social media channels make changes, remember: you’re not the only one being affected.  Social media is a powerful tool to harness, so ignoring it or cutting it from marketing plans is no longer an option – especially for brands that want to stay relevant with younger audiences.  The silver lining here is that major adapts affect everyone using the channel, so you’re not the only brand trying to figure it out.  Another way to avoid stress is to see the larger purpose of your social program, so you can rise above the nitty gritty of a given change.  If you keep your eye on your overall communications objectives, you’ll know how to adapt accordingly.
  2. Keep your ear to the ground. Often changes to social media platforms can feel like they come out of nowhere, but that’s not always the case for those in the know.  We have a dedicated team of digital and social media experts here (thank goodness!), who are neck-deep in the social space every day, so when news does drop, our team is in place to give you the best advice on how to pivot in real time.
  3. Be fluid. If you need to pause a campaign temporarily to recalibrate, do it. If you need to adjust your approach and consider new tactics that weren’t in the original plan, do it.  Having a team of experts is so valuable: they can guide you through this ever-changing terrain.  Tap into the resources available to you!

This form of media is drastically different than any that’s come before, and so as marketers we need to collectively commit to learning together.  It can be scary, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s something even scarier than taking chances with a new medium: not taking any, and becoming a relic of a brand.