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As marketing and communication tools go, social media is evolving at an unprecedented rate. For big organisations these shifting sands are both an opportunity and, at times, something of a pain in the a*%^e.

Large organisations crave structure and “organisation” to help plan and industrialise how they communicate and market themselves. The likes of TV and radio are excellent bed fellows for this – the format of the radio ad hasn’t really changed since its inception… you create a piece of audio and it plays. Of course you can target against whichever listener demographic you’re aiming for, but in the simplest terms that’s about it.

Meanwhile the slippery young upstart social media continues to evolve and innovate. Take Instagram as just one example, adding stories and gallery posts in just the last few weeks. For enterprises that’s two more creative options and means of distribution to weigh up and set an approach for… and let’s not even get started on live video!

And it’s not just the social networks making changes. That pesky audience on social media can change how they use social technologies. No-one listens to the radio in a way you “didn’t anticipate”… and they certainly wouldn’t dare to give feedback on what they just heard!


Of course, even the most nimble of big organisations can’t jump on every new social media format at the drop of a hat, that’s just not the way they work. Unfortunately in many cases embracing something new can become a time-consuming process of debate, discussion and over-thinking.

The key, like most things in life, is balance. Sure, don’t go crazy and way off brand but adopt more of a Gary Vaynerchuck mantra of “just do”.

To give businesses the reassurance they need that t’s and i’s are being crossed and dotted, the trick is putting in place the right principles and guidelines. These allow teams and agencies to test and learn with sufficient autonomy.

Setting those principles won’t necessarily be easy, as it’s probably going to involve recalibrating the view on things like trading perfection for timelinesses. If polished TV and radio ads are still the norm, then it’s clearly not something to be solved in a half hour meeting. Fortunately in 2017, there’s plenty of supporting data and case studies available to demonstrate the importance of “just do”.

Are organisations starting to feel a sense paralysis with so many different social networks and formats available to them (photo, video, carousel, live etc)? This is why having a clear role of social is so important. It doesn’t really matter which social networks you’re using… it’s whether what you’re doing and how you’re acting is helping to deliver against your business objectives.

This is the fifth in a series of posts investigating aspects of social media governance where enterprises often struggle. You can find a summary of the other areas in our Social Operating Model White Paper below:

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