Put People and Process Before Technology

There is a major obsession with tools. As marketers, we’re always looking for the one silver bullet that will solve a challenge, and with enough money, we’ll find a tool that will solve all of our problems and answer all of our questions. There’s a new social media tool claiming to optimize marketers’ efforts every day, but that one tool to rule them all doesn’t exist. It will never exist because it cannot replace people.

Start with People

A social media marketer’s greatest asset is the people executing a brand’s social media efforts. Experts across the organization, including customer service, content creation, R&D, creative, HR and so on are invaluable resources that cannot be replaced. It’s far easier to train them on how to use a tool than to train a tool “expert” how to do any and all of those other tasks.

It’s essential to start with people who are already doing a job and doing it very well. From there marketers can determine how their jobs will be affected by social media and what the additional “asks” there will be.

Think about all of the tasks and who need to be involved, establish the necessary procedures and then train them. That’s when technology comes in.

There isn’t a magic tool that does everything you need all the time. Every tool comes with pros and cons and range from being very simple, free solutions to being more complicated, enterprise-level platforms. The right tools are the ones that work for you and your business, so start with the people who will be doing the job, train them and then use technology to fill in the gaps.

Fill in the Gaps

Tools fill in the gaps of people’s abilities and constraints, whether they are time, scale and capabilities. They make the work done by people better. People don’t make the work done by technology better.

While there isn’t a perfect tool, marketers should ask themselves what weaknesses exist and find the tools that will help overcome those weaknesses.

Stop Searching

The best solutions are a hybrid of multiple solutions, but I know that isn’t what we want to hear. The mindset that there’s one tool to rule them all is what has made marketers look at tools like Klout as a number to evaluate influence. At its best Klout is a directional tool that still requires human insight and analysis to truly evaluate influence. It’d be easy to take Klout by itself and use it to quickly and easily evaluate influencers. It’d be quick. It’d be easy. But it wouldn’t be correct.

The perfect tool isn’t out there, so instead of having a tool-first mindset, have a solution-oriented mindset. Focus on the problems that need to be solved and then choose the right tool.

Technology lets us do amazing things, but it shines when it makes what we do in social media marketing better, faster, more effective, more responsive and better for the consumer. That’s how relationships are made, trust is formed and advocacy is created.