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Your 2013 Social Media Strategy: Grow a Pair.

Your 2013 Social Media Strategy: Grow a Pair. image grow a pair

First I would like to explain this strange headline to my international readers. “Grow a pair” (not ot be confused with “grow a pear”) is American slang for stepping up to be tough and bold. Now, on with the show.

There is an infection overwhelming social media strategy development and the virus is fear.

I just read a number of reports all showing how CMO’s are still confused about what to do about social media. Really? It’s been on the table for at least 3-4 years now. Isn’t it time to figure things out?

I’ve had the true honor of working with some of America’s most beloved brands over the past few years. And I can report that the overwhelming reaction to social media by many successful companies is: “Can we please just make this go away!”

Once they learn that they can’t make it go away, they do the next best thing.: Shove it off to an advertising agency.

The fact of the matter is, “fear of change” is always the biggest obstacle to progress. Many of today’s CMO’s did not cut their teeth in the digital world, have not immersed themselves in the social web, and simply do not understand it.

It’s time these business leaders stop whining about social media, shatter the status quo, and grow a pair for the new year.

  • Stop abdicating leadership to advertising agencies who just made Timmy from Accounting your community manager because he’s 23 and enjoys Facebook.
  • If you still have a firewall to keep employees from the social web, grow a pair. Are you shaking your employees down for crossword puzzle books when they punch the time clock?
  • Quit fighting over who owns social media strategy. It’s Marketing. Glad to be of help.
  • Stop hiding behind your legal department as an excuse to not do anything. If you help them understand what’s at stake, they will help you. Lawyers care about your business too.
  • Quit whining about how much time it takes to do social media. Take a little of that newspaper ad budget you’re wasting and re-direct some resources to the digital space.
  • If you’re in pharma or another highly-regulated industry, stop waiting for guidance from the FDA or whatever agency and just figure it out. Whoever finally does that is going to have a remarkable competitive advantage.
  • If you’re in the insurance, banking or wealth management industries, grow a pair and stop treating your employees like idiots who could not manage to send out a tweet without violating a freaking SEC regulation.
  • Stop following a soul-less, cookie-cutter social media playbook devised by your agency. Learn enough about this new channel so you can ask the right questions and be a real leader in this space.
  • If you are overwhelmed about social media and don’t know where to start, bring in help. If you want to find an advisor you can really trust, call me. I know a few I could recommend! Also, I recommend the Rutgers University CMD program (where I teach). In this remarkable executive program, you can get up to speed on the digital marketing landscape in one week.
  • And most of all, please, please, please quit asking about the ROI of social media when this is simply code for: “If I keep asking for spreadsheets I can stall this thing until I hit retirement.”

So there. (Taking deep breath).

Please. Look around you. Which companies are creating new value today and achieving breath-taking business results? Which companies are declining quickly, and why? You’ll discover that if you don’t have a digital strategy, you are most likely on a path to irrelevance. Don’t go there.

In 2013 it’s time to do this thing. How are you going to integrate social media and digital marketing so that you’re not just checking a box. It’s time to master these platforms to make them work for you. Are you with me?

Mark Schaefer is an educator and marketing consultant specializing in social media workshops. He blogs at {grow} and is the author of several best-selling marketing books including Return On Influence.

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  1. Sandy Adam says:

    Excellent post Mark! I think CMO’s have a lot on their plates and social had taken a back seat. Mainly because it takes them out of their comfort zone and it takes time to understand.

    But I also think they’re very aware that they can’t ignore it much longer.

    Social Media Managers have a lot on their plate, from training the organization to executing tactics. Staffing up to handle this is also a great start. Some things just shouldn’t be outsourced. Teams of 1 are not realistic. You can’t scale.

  2. I agree with your points, Mark. Companies cannot make social media “go away”. It’s here and only growing more popular, so deal with it! Not only do you need a solid and viable marketing strategy, you need customer/client support. You have to interact with your social media audience just as much, if not more, than your customers who reach out to you in traditional ways. Your audience is not stupid, they know you are watching and if you’re ignoring the social media space hoping it will “go away”, they WILL notice and they will not be quiet about it. This is the year to do or die. Get your social media strategies in place immediately before the demand passes you by and your customers go to your competition.

  3. i think this is easer said than don … take a look at what happened to Netflix!

  4. Very well said! Too many companies spend time ‘waiting to see how it goes’ and I think they’re just waiting for social media to go away so they don’t have to invest in it. In the meantime, they’re going downhill, fast. You made some excellent points and with humor to boot. Great post!

  5. Lisa Pool says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!! just.. THANK YOU!!

  6. Lisa Correu says:

    Bravo!

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