WE Built This Social Media City

city of social mediaIn my quest to get the body moving each day through music, I seek out new music to listen to. I stumbled across We Built This City … on Rock and Roll by Jefferson Starship. Catchy tune that when you sing it and listen to the words you are singing, you stop for a minute and think, yeah, ya know WE, the social media folks built a Social Media City. Sure, the developers built the platforms but we used them, we used them so much that we drew so much attention to our City, our very own Social Media City that now has blossomed into its own communities. These communities are all a part of OUR City and when one community needs help, we are there, when a member of OUR City has stumbled, we criticize only to try and help as they are not showing our City in the best light. We, ourselves, do the same when we viciously attach one another. We have spent years building this City only to show the outside world that our City is crumbling internally. We do not all have sit by the camp fire at night singing kumbaya while roasting marsh mellows but exposing our weaknesses only give the naysayers or those on the fence reason not to continue to build and preserve our City.

Our Social Media City

We can think back to the early days of blogging – or journals as they were called. Who were these freaks writing things online thinking people would read? We had books, magazines, newspapers, etc for that. Enter LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the failed Google platforms and now Google+. If those early freaks journals did not exist, would we be where we are now? If the developers did not take a chance and create the platforms and we as users did not embrace them and show how to integrate social media into a marketing plan, we would not have OUR City. That is pretty powerful to think about as all the new jobs that have been created, the communities we have developed, the friends we have made and the opportunity that has come for thousands of businesses to meet their customers.

Is Our City Thriving?

For each Twitter, Facebook, Google+ user account that is receiving praise, there are many that have lost their way or did not spend the time in learning that social media is marketing. Marketing is about building relationships and talking with the customers and not talking to the sale. The ultimate goal is to drive sales but the route taken to build the relationships is where there is the disconnect. We have expectations of how a brand should engage. We, as well respected members in our City, have expertise on what strategy will be best for them. Sometimes they listen and many times they do not.

Abandoned accounts, accounts that act as traditional advertising mediums where there is brand talking about themselves as an extension of a billboard or print ad and not interacting with their community or those that have no presence at all hurt our City. We can think of examples of those brands who are better served not having a presence at all in social media which when we think that way, it stagnates the growth of our City. When a brand stops updating or does not answer customers, potential customers or just a general question from a stumbler/surfer, it hurts our City. People stop believing in what we have built. They forget about the Pepsi’s, the AJBombers, The Dunkin Donuts who are leaders in brand social media.

Did Our City Grow Too Fast?

Did we? I lived the expansion in Las Vegas which ultimately was/is too much too fast. The numbers were showing the fastest growing city so they built and built and built. The problem is that the city could not sustain the growth with only one major industry. The reliance upon the casino industry to stimulate prospects from other industries faltered and while the volume in people and housing grew, the industrial sector did not.

Did our Social Media City grow too fast? Did some get left behind and not have the guidance to really learn the tools and how social media is not just a chat room but a part of an actual strategic marketing plan where the target market is researched, how they interact with one another, how they interact with the brands, how comfortable they are with using the platforms, the tone, the reputation that will be created through the tone used and the level of knowledge about the brand itself the social media accounts will showcase? This and a whole lot more matters. Those that are invested in our City and the City leaders know this but those that are new or just doing social media because they have to and forget it is marketing are missing out on opportunity but are also hurting our City.

Building and Preserving Our City

How can we attract new people to our City when they are met with disarray? When brands falter in social media the users suffer and so does the industry as a whole. We can think of Detroit and how their major industry has crumbled and rebuilding Detroit has become an entire community coming together taking action. Chrysler has built an entire campaign around Detroit. Did it sell more cars? I do not know. Did Chrysler  do its part as a City leader to help stimulate growth and put Detroit back on the map? They did and we can too.

How? We can look at brands and make them more responsible by calling them out. If they are not going to reach out to us, which clearly they have not, then we have to draw attention and help them to listen to us. The brands who do social media are not listening or know better than the social media city leaders and place the social media efforts in the hands of an intern, a recent grad who has no working experience in marketing and no one to guide them. They are hired at under $25K a year, a job that any experienced marketer would never apply for.

In advertising and marketing agencies, there are positions that are geared for the new grads with Jr. Account Exec, Associate Account Exec as they work their way up through guidance. In social media, ok you know Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and Google +, great, you are hired. You have to wonder how quickly an account would go under review if an agency went to their brand client and said, “your agency team will now consist of recent grads and interns.” It is not ok with the creative so why is it ok with the social media? This hurts the communities we have built. Our City is being torn down right before our eyes. Every single brand that treats social media not as marketing but as a billboard or forgets that the intern has left and the profile is dead stifles the growth of social media. If your BFF stops calling you back, do you keep on calling? No. If your internet is down more often that it is up, do you stay with that company? No.

There is no excuse for a brand to tear down our City. This is an uphill battle as brands will continue to hire based upon knowledge of the tools and not the reason the tools are used. We know they do not want to invest big dollars into someone who will be the voice of their brand and really anyone can do it. It is this attitude that needs to be changed. Not everyone can be the voice of a brand. Not everyone has the experience, professionalism, maturity and understanding of the expectations of a brand. We can make change, we can build and protect our City.

photo credit: SouthernAnts