The dialogue about brand management through social media has focused almost exclusively on web presence. Absence is just not an option. Yet despite the push for more and more web presence from brands, it is clear that a number of companies large and small are opting to take a pass when it comes to social media.
Do these people not realize that they can hire an army of bloggers, tweeters, and other social media relationship managers? Do they not get how important it is to be online?
The short answer is yes, they do know — and they’re choosing to do their offline thing anyway.
What gives? Is this deliberate choice to stay out of social media channels smart brand management, or is it intentional laziness? There are cases to be made for both camps, and understanding where to draw the line can provide some interesting food for thought.
The Case Of The Lazy Bones
Lazy businesses would never admit their laziness, but it is true that there are often no other real obstacles to a social media presence. Any business with a basic IQ should be able to set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a homepage — or at the very least, shell out the dollars to get someone to do it for them.
Lazy businesses have a lot of excuses. Social media is really complicated and hard. They just don’t have time. They’re customers aren’t “online people” in that way. They’re going to get to it next year. These and all the rest are clear red flags that the business lacks the willpower to maintain a social web presence, and so they are making the deliberate (if not always 100% conscious) choice to say no to social media.
The Case Of The Smart Brand Manager
Just as lazy businesses are marked by their excuses, smart brand managers are marked by their logic. Attempt to confront one of these business teams about a lack of an online presence, and you will hit a wall of logic. It’s not that these business brand managers don’t “get” social media. They get it all too well, and know better than to let their businesses go down that path.
The reasons that they stay offline are generally simple and specific:
• Our CEO wouldn’t leave it alone, and needs to be able to focus on the business
• Everybody here has a short fuse, so Twitter isn’t safe for us
• We haven’t had a chance to establish our communication guidelines for our employees to use social media, so we’re protecting ourselves until that’s done
Other reasons to stay out of social media include legitimately irate customers just waiting to engage, legal restrictions depending on the type of business, and staffing restrictions that hamper engagement. Knowing their business and the likely negative path that a social media presence would take for their company, brand managers are deliberately, consciously, and consistently saying no to the platform.
Looking at the businesses around you – or even your own business – which camp is the best answer for a lack of a social media presence? Being thoughtful and deliberate about understanding why social media isn’t a good fit for the organization is one thing, but laziness is just that. With social media on the rise throughout society, taking the lazy way shouldn’t be the reason not to be an active part of the social media community.
Guest author Collin Elder is a blogger at My Phone Deals, a UK comparison site that offers mobile phone contracts with free gifts. The site compiles top offers from multiple shops and makes them easy to search through.