by Jye Smith
September 10th, 2014

Social media conferences haven’t changed for nearly ten years. Each and every one has been about how content is king, why measurement is so hard and how engagement is everything. And of course, for us agency folk, who owns social.

Ultimately, the folly of social media is two-fold: the practice of social media is still in its infancy – organisations are not culturally or structurally mature enough to cope; and the crafts of journalism, design and creativity are struggling to keep pace.

Here are the five most-commom social media cliches I hear at conferences, and what we should be saying instead.

1. You need “good” content

Creative directors (and their egos) are hard to find because being a great creative is a hard mix of art and science.  Knowing enough about an audience, but not too much to be dull is also a careful game of cat and mouse.

2. Measurement is key

The issue with social media measurement isn’t (in my opinion) the how.  It’s the who.  What you’re measuring, and more importantly, how you’re talking about it, is all about who’s reading the report.

3. Social media is not a silo

Just like no one owns the right to use “video” it seems the arms-race for social media control is more about a lack of organisational leadership, than departments and name cards.  Dissolve the department and focus on the outputs of social media (content, analytics, media etc.) instead.

4. Community management is a two-way dialogue

Dear Marketing teams, it’s totally fine if you want awareness and disruption – go nuts! Just use the paid media channels. Social networks were built for people and their interests, not brands.

5. B2B companies need social media

B2B organisations benefit greatest from a comprehensive owned-media strategy supported with a strong content-first approach to online engagement. Not necessarily setting up a page on a business network and buying up interstitials and full-page take-overs.

Despite my own cynicism, I’m an eager and active participant in social media workshops of all kinds, and Social Media Branding, held in Hong Kong last month, was no exception.  Get involved and put your hand up when you get the chance – nothing sharpens your own abilities quicker.

Jye Smith is head of Mediaco, Asia Pacific 

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