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If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. This is a logical and sensible way of thinking, but it can also be restrictive. It is the kind of thinking that can cause a company to miss a new opportunity that involves a new technology, or a new way of doing business. All too often, unfortunately, it is the approach that senior management takes when considering new phenomena like social media as a component of a marketing strategy.
On the one hand, it may derive from senior managers being of a generation that has not grown up with social media, whereas younger generations cannot imagine life without social networks like Twitter and Facebook. On the other hand, it could be hesitancy about a relatively new and still evolving method of marketing, which for some senior managers may still have to prove its worth. In other cases, it could be the fear of negative publicity rapidly building momentum in a forum that seems hard to control.
Such concerns may seem valid at first glance, and it is certainly true that using social media as a beneficial tool in a broader marketing strategy takes time, effort and focus. But if a corporate presence on social media networks is well managed, the advantages can be huge.
Social media networks are evolving rapidly, mainly because they are so popular. They are the forum through which many people organise much of their lives and, therefore, give businesses an unprecedented opportunity to engage with customers on a personal and interactive basis. Traditional marketing rules still apply in this new space, but they must be applied in a different way.
When social media marketing is successful, it builds brand evangelists who spread positive recommendations through word of mouth, and brings a corporate brand to life. Social media interaction can give a company a human face, show it is listening to its customers, and disseminate news about product development quickly. It also gives businesses a wealth of information about customers and their opinions, which means they can act swiftly to head of any negative opinions before they get out of control, and can spread positive news fast.
Concerns among senior management about social media may be driven by the best intentions, but by not embracing this exciting new marketing tool they could be missing a trick.