Facebook here, Facebook there. Everyone talks about Facebook. Every brand must now have a Facebook page. And then its got one. And they wonder why there are not suddenly 10,000 fans on it. Think back to the case of Geman Railways. But I won't dwell on this example here. Its growth is easy to explain and its success had a rather less pleasant side effect. But that probably doesn't bother the German Rail company one jot.
But people – Facebook is not alone. Social media is not alone. And above all: Social Media is not just Facebook! Even if right now you could be forgiven for thinking it was.
To reduce social media to just one constituent part is not only unfair to all the other elements and facets. It is for the most part negligent as well.
It is only too clear, at the same time, that many of the big brand leaders still do not know or haven't really grasped what social media is. And above all what social media means.
It is wonderfully easy to set up a Facebook page. You can do it yourself. Or have it done for relatively little money. Und then what? 'But hey, then there are fans. And they will do it all, won't they?' (A genuine quote from a conference!)
Er, no – thats not what happens. At least not mostly. With really strong brands maybe. But whether it is effective in that case, I would really doubt. Brands like Adidas, Coca-Cola or Prngles don't leave their pages, and the community which has grown up there, alone but are an active particiant of the community. To make a Facebook page work, the administrator must be active themselves. Daily. So that what happened with We-Tab, doesn't happen to them. What daily activity and good community management on a Facebook page means, I have written about in detail here and here.
But what is currently greatly disturbing me is the reduction of social media to Facebook alone. And perhaps to Twitter too. But social media is much more. And clearly on many other levels. And Facebook may not be the ideal place, the appropriate communication channel, for every brand.
What you need to find this out, is an appropriate strategy. Only at steps 4 and 5 would you then open and look after (!) a Facebook page. Step 1 is: sit down, get some advice, think about it. And then devise the right strategy for the brand. We say to our kids all the time, 'think first, talk later'. It holds true here too!
From this you can perhaps decide that Facebook is perhaps just one constituent part of several. Perhaps it would make more sense to write your own blog, in which you can tell the outside world your message, about your staff, your phlosophy, news about your products. Maybe an exciting You Tube channel would go with it. Or – if there is a lot of image material to make use of – a clever combination of Flickr galleries working alongside the multiple use of Facebook and Twitter. Or a close co-operation with 3, 4 or 5 niche blogs, the authors of which have agreed to support you and with which you cannot only promote your products but perhaps even improve them. Or, or ,or.. Social bookmarking, your own community on your own personal platform, working together with appropriate forums and specific themed networks, the use of crowd sourcing mechanisms, viral campaigns scattered across several channels... and so on and so forth.
There are a whole range of possibilities as to how a social media strategy can look. This is just a very quick outline.
I really like the way the Fidor Bank operates – seen from the outside! Not only that it comes across as just pleasant and is a permanent presence on Facebook and Twitter. The heart of its social media strategy is its own community. And I really think thats nice. Together - based incidentally on crowd sourcing mechanisms – they try to improve their own products and above all to discover new services and products with a promising future. I think thats a great way to go.
And it shows that social media is far more than just Facebook. Social media can (and should) be on many levels. And for (almost?) everyone there is a strategy that fits. But concentrated action in all things Facebook is only seldom the right strategy. And can quickly lead to frustration for many big brand managers. That would be a shame. Because – I think I've said this before – social media is so diverse and so splendid.....
- The We-Tab Failure as a social media learning example: As stupid as Herr Hoffer von Ankershoffen? Please make it better!
- Social Media ist nicht nur Facebook
- Social Media in Tourism in Germany – Diving into the Social Web with my morning coffee – Interview with the Director of the Oberstaufen Spa
- Zwei erstklassige Artikel zu Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Facebook & Co
- Rückblick zu “Schläft Deutschland noch den friedlichen Social Media Schlaf?” – als Social Media Reporter in der Sächsischen Schweiz
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