The Risk of Generalities

Social media is not the place for generalities, but that’s where many brands spend a lot of time and where a lot of undefined questions come from. What are best practices for x? What level of success can we expect based on other brands with this kind of effort? What tool do you recommend for this?

All of these questions are worth asking and knowing the answer to, but an accurate answer cannot be provided without additional information because there isn’t a single answer for any of them. I see best practices being redefined every day, and the level of success of a single tactic is contingent upon far more than just the tactic itself. It relies on your overall marketing mix, the level of integration, what else your brand is doing in the social space and so on. Finally, technology moves incredibly fast, and new tools come out at lightning speed. The best tool, at the end of the day, is the one that works best for the work being done and the organization.

It Depends.

The answer to questions without context is: It Depends. It’s an easy answer, but it’s the right one without the necessary information.

Marketers get excited. They get ahead of themselves. And sometimes this leads to asking questions that should be saved for later.

Get context to get real answers:

  • Understand what you’re trying to do. Know the problem you’re trying to solve, the end goal and what needs to be overcome.
  • Be prepared for an investment and know what you’re prepared to spend in terms of time, people and money. There’s no need to be shy about the investment you’re prepared to make. Defining that will save you time and set realistic expectations.
  • Don’t operate in a silo. Be aware of the other elements involved in a particular project and nuances that should be taken into account.

Of course, the more information, the better, but a question asked without context is a poor question and deserves a poor answer. Any answer will essentially be a sweeping generalization, which only makes the problem worse. Try to be specific. Give questions with context and get answers with detail.