Following a very interesting talk on ‘Social Media’ at the British Chambers of Commerce, the après was fascinating in its actual focus. It seems the whole world wants to get information out. Every business recognizes that they need to be involved in social media and needs to get their message out. There were repeated questions in search of examples of winning social media strategies which may be cloned. Everyone wants new ways of creating interesting Twitter fodder and YouTube fun. The stampede to create content is underway and in full charge.
When large groups of non-media companies are discussing creating a Twitter-post agenda then something doesn’t quite feel right. Energy and focus on getting information out may actually turn out to be like effort spent alchemizing.
Would companies be better off reversing the flow and try to seek information? By this I mean ideas, advice and guidance for better products, streamlining of services and enhancing user experience? At least one sub-goal of any company is to make better products or services to enhance future profitability. What better is there to beginning to achieve this than to seek opinions from the users or potential users.
Car companies should focus on building better cars not blogs. How many people buy a Blue car because the Blue Company has the best blog? Of course companies need to produce quality, well presented information, but if they are competing to win attention to satisfy some measure or sales metric then it becomes hollow and frustrating – especially when it serves no purpose and the content is clearly sub-par.
It does become a rather fruitless struggle for non-media companies to compete in the content business. Social media is not new. Word of mouth has been around since one came out of the other, but only recently has the grandiose ambition of industrial companies winning attention for more than their purpose of marketing become common practice.
I’m not arguing against content, I’m just arguing on who should produce it. Data is for companies to produce, but surely content should be from the fans. Wise companies will listen to their fans and detractors. Any efficient economy or company will have resources seek their most productive niche. The best content providers shouldn’t be wasted on making a blog for the Blue Company and neither should the Blue Company try to dominate our time to just sit on their blogs. They have to serve a purpose. You really can’t make content worthy of attention while you’re wearing a suit. Neither should you try.