Social Media is a tool…but which one?

If you’ve been to just about ANY marketing conference in the past 6-12 months, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “social media is a tool.” And I agree – yes, it’s a tool. But which one?

Some companies use social media as a sledge hammer, slamming us with message and making as much noise as they can while trying to hit a general area of social media users hoping that eventually they will break us down and we will listen.

Others use it as a hammer. Slowing chipping away at our attention resistance. But still bending a nail or two along the way. Maybe even denting the wood every now and again.

And still others use social media as a laser. Precise. Used only when needed. And so very honed in on the audience that they can’t help but engage.

I’m not saying any of these tactics are wrong. I’m just saying that we need to THINK about what tool is right for the job. It’s not always the social media tool. And when it is, there are different tools to choose from. If you’re using a sledgehammer, some other things are going to get damaged that you didn’t want to – like your reputation and your brand identity. If it’s a saw, you have to be careful who and what you’re cutting. You get the idea.

And, the majority of the time, my money is going to be on the laser. Because it won’t be long before social media looks just like the first internet boom. Now EVERYONE has a website. How long will it be before everyone has a social media effort in place? And then we’ll really see which tools are effective.

6 Comments

  • April 14, 2010

    Aaron

    SM as tool box: choose your tools and the way your apply them wisely. Thanks Mr. Jones.

  • April 14, 2010

    Todd

    With Social Media, it used to be that the medium was the message. Now, as you succinctly point out, the message has become the medium. How and when one chooses to use that medium and to what extent will equate to the level of engagement and its effect. Great, profound post as always!

  • April 16, 2010

    Chad Hartman

    I am going with the pliers, versatile, many uses, but can’t be used for everything.

  • April 16, 2010

    Gypsy

    I am asked about social media strategies almost every single day. I am a firm believer that social media is a *lousy* way to sell products. It is, however, an extremely effective way to sell personality.

    Personality is a fantastic way to sell products…

    Following me on Twitter in an effort to get me interested in your product is entirely futile. Creating an online personality that is unique, interesting and engaging will result in my wanting to engage, or at least investigate, your products. Social Media is all about VOICE. What does your voice sound like?

  • April 16, 2010

    Shane Petty

    Social media is a multi-tool, like a Leatherman (http://www.leatherman.com/). If you don’t learn how to use it, you are going to cut, pinch, poke, or slice the snot out of yourself or someone else if you are careless or clueless.

  • May 21, 2010

    Bruce

    With Social Media, it used to be that the medium was the message. Now, as you succinctly point out, the message has become the medium. How and when one chooses to use that medium and to what extent will equate to the level of engagement and its effect. Great, profound post as always!

Leave a Reply