I was trying to outrun a storm on my motorcycle or I would have stopped and taken a picture: of a tumble-down roadhouse on an Illinois country road. Pool and darts. The sign out front that should have advertised two-for-one happy hour Miller Lite pitchers said, "Like us on Facebook."
Laughing into the wind, I thought of a friend who called the other day. She runs a little marketing business and she's tired of writing proposals for clients who say they want a social media plan but who don't have the time or energy or personality to transform some unsuspecting group of busy human beings into avid "followers" of their organization, on social media.
"Then it becomes a failed campaign," she said, wearily. For her, I thought I'd write this post as something to show potential clients in lieu of a proposal. It's a rundown of the sorts of companies that should not bother with social media—and should not bother my marketing friend for a social media proposal.
1. Ziggy. The day I moved into my condo seven years ago, the Eastern European guy who installed my furnace took a Sharpie pen and scrawled his name, "Ziggy" on my furnace—it's short for Zigauskas or something—along with his phone number. When my furnace fucks up, about once a year, I take my cordless phone and pad over to the furnace and dial Ziggy's number. Between these incidents, I do not want to get industry news from Ziggy, exchange views with Ziggy, consume creative content from Ziggy or think for one goddamn minute about Ziggy. The feeling, I imagine, is mutual.
2. Your name is Garoon. In an out-of-the-way factory on the north side of Chicago, you run a company that braids little wires together to make big cables. You aren't passionate about cables, and you certainly don't bother to dream up branding slogans about how cables connect the whole world together. And you sure as shit don't want to exchange information with the broader cable-knitting community, otherwise known as your competitors. You're a regular guy trying to make a dollar, and all the people who work for you are in it for the same unlovely but honest purpose. That's it, and that's all. But if you haven't updated the lobby since 1962, I don't reckon you'll update your Twitter feed much either.
3. My old college roommate Gillespie, who once turned to me and, at rock bottom on a Wednesday afternoon couch rot, said, "Wash my hair." Now, he's a businessman who has learned how to delegate everything except social media. And so he has no social media presence. Generally, if you have made it this long without a social media strategy—seriously, you're like four years late for being two years late for being a year behind—you probably don't fuckin' need one. And hiring a marketing person to give you a strategy is kind of like asking a popular kid to tell you how to make a bunch of friends and build a busy social calendar. They can sort of tell you how—in a tentative way that says, "You really don't know how to do this?" But they can't even begin to do it for you. You can't outsource—or plan, for that matter—the essential elements of your social media presence any more than you can outsource your socializing.
I respect you Gillespies, you Garoons, you Ziggies. I'm grateful to you—for the useful work you do, and the unpretentious way you go about it. But quit bugging my marketing friend for social media proposals.
She can help you with media. But she can't make you social.