There’s more to this than understanding social.

In my most-recent post, I discussed how to know what you’re worth in the business you’re running, and why it’s important to stick to that. Today, I’m going to discuss this same topic from the opposite point of view – the client’s.

Sometimes I’ll meet with a potential client who really wants to have a social presence, and they determine that instead of hiring a company like mine, they’re going to go with their neighbor’s kid who’s home for the summer… they really seem to know what they’re doing on social.

And this is me:

Listen, people. If you’re going to do this, do it right… or what’s the point? Pardon my language for a moment, but you wouldn’t half-ass production on your product, right? Then why half-ass how you tell the world about it?

I’m a member of a great group for social media managers on Facebook where we share ideas, help each other out, and sometimes we advise those who are just starting out. Time and again, we get someone fresh out of college – or maybe still in college (or high school!) who “gets” social so they want to start a business. You bet, they “get” social – they are awesome at snapping their friends and few are better at them at knowing which hashtags are currently active and will get great views. But there’s more to this business than “getting social.”

On behalf of my colleagues, I’ll say this. We use social platforms as a means to an end. Just as an advertising executive understands print and radio and a PR practitioner understands the value of editorial content and how to achieve proper placement, we each use these platforms as the mechanism for getting the message across. But the most important part of that is the message, itself. 

The message a brand wants to represent itself must be well-crafted, perfectly built and strategized with a plan of how to roll it out via social or any other channel. It needs to work in conjunction with all marketing pieces – advertising and editorial content included. And, for the love… it’s got to have proper grammar.

If you throw your message out there via Twitter with a huge typo in it, those of us who are professional communicators roll our eyes and mumble under our breath, “rookie.” Sure, we’re all human, and we all make mistakes – but proofread. If you catch it after it’s published – FIX IT.

We’re more than just people who understand Instagram filters – we are professional communicators. Speaking as a business is what we do. And, to clarify – I’m not saying your age has anything to do with this at all. There may be someone 10 years younger than me that’s great at what we do. But what I am saying is that experience as a professional communicator is valuable – and that THAT is what’s important about what we do, not necessarily our knowledge of social media (we’d better have that).

Sadly, we lost a client earlier this year and I worry for the branding that’s happening to this local, growing company. The owner of the company, in my opinion, was “swindled” by a graphics company who said, “hey, we can do social too.” We’ve been watching. We’ve caught at least 10 errors. We even pointed one out and they’ve continued to not proofread since then. Their Instagram account is essentially dead (and it’s a FOOD company) and there hasn’t been a unique tweet since we left. And it’s making us roll our eyes at the brand being represented. Their vendor is making them a fool.

So, companies out there… I encourage you to do your due diligence and invest in your brand. If you can’t afford to properly outsource it yet, then don’t. Don’t give it to some person who “gets” social, because the bottomline is they need to get YOU and YOUR BRAND even more than they “get” social. 

My thoughts on this hot, humid, gorgeous Saturday.

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