“There Is No Social Media”

Social media does not exist

I love it when people are bold. Bold and correct. And Norwegian marketing supremo Helge Tennø said something absolutely brilliant last night. Like a free lunch, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, “There is no Social Media”.

Cue the sound of a million self-appointed gurus imploding.


To be fair to Helge, he provides some superb and balanced context to his wonderfully bold statement, citing leading professors, journals and institutions who all agree we’re about to undergo an industrial-revolution-style sea-change in retail, where mass consumerism (one size fits all) gives way to individual demand and tailored production. Participation and dialogue (that’ll be your social media, folks) can be one of the answers, but it has to be implemented at the business level, rather than shouldering it off to a marketing team and hoping for the best.

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The upshot? Over to Helge…

This is not about one single tool entertaining customers or allowing the creative brains to experiment as the business itself is doing “business as usual”.

He nailed it. Social media, if it does exist, is meaningless. Social Commerce is everything.

Here’s a sidenote: I just worked on a Social Commerce campaign with Pepsi Max in Helge’s homeland of Norway which was so successful it blew me away. His country really gets this stuff – both at a corporate level and at a consumer one. People want to buy socially. They want to use technology to access unique products in exciting new ways. And pioneering businesses like PepsiCo want to take that journey with them.

We’re getting there in the UK and the US, too. But we need to ask ourselves a crucial question: if we’re still just doing “social media”; if we still think that business, commerce, revenue and return on investment don’t factor into that; then we’re like feudal luddites protesting against the onset of the mills.

Change is coming. Are you ready to change with it?

Discuss This Article

Comments: 2

  • Well this post certainly opens up new ways in which to look at social media. Businesses today, however, are still about “being social” on social channels and don’t really get to doing social media on a business level – although there are some who have probably already done it.
    If this change does come, I am going to be watching very closely. I would love to see how businesses and social media start shifting.

  • Fascinating, isn’t it, Max? The tipping point will come when all businesses realise that the ‘engagement’ they’ve been chasing costs money and yields no return. We’ve absolutely seen that already from our clients (including superbrands you might not *expect* to be pioneers, such as Sony, Pfizer, GSK and Pepsi). Their delight in seeing real ROI from Social Commerce (as opposed to Social Media) is incredibly rewarding.

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