Is it Social Media or is it social comms, social engagement social business?

Well actually “it” is all the same thing. Earlier today Jo (@Brandguardian) was tweeting about changing the terminology of SM to make it more “acceptable” to mainstream business, the above are some of her suggestions. This is not a new idea, in fact I came across this article recently by Chuck Hemann which discusses the concept of re-naming Social Media Monitoring as “Strategic listening” to move it away from being tarred with the same brush as traditional media monitoring and to help to obtain high level buy in and budget.

However, I personally don’t see the value of re-naming something to try and get buy in. When we are trying to persuade our clients (or internal stakeholders) to engage on a particular course of action, be it social media or otherwise, I feel that the value of that course of action has to speak for itself. They must engage with that course due to its merits, benefits or alignment with business goals (preferably a mix of the above).

We can try to make social media more acceptable to “mainstream business” in a number of ways, but in the end it doesn’t matter what we call it, they have to be sold on the course of action and on the impacts it is going to have on their business, not on the name!


3 responses to “Is it Social Media or is it social comms, social engagement social business?

  1. Hey Tom

    First of all, I completely agree with your statement regarding not changing the terminology, despite my tweet on the same.

    My comment was as a result of watching the Like Minds event in Exeter, Devon via live stream.

    One of the panelists was talking about how traditional marketeers still don’t buy into SM, how they are afraid to still apportion budget to it because of fear of rebuke when it comes down to the bottom line etc…

    I personally think it is time that internal comms still need to accept the idea of SM, and its impact on them both as a business internally and on their client base externally – there is still a lot of fear out there, despite overwhelming evidence that SM is truly here to stay and only going to increase. But for me, 2010 is the year that SM really gets taken seriously as part of the marketing mix.

    So I guess I was trying to gauge others perception of this reaction when selling SM services – is it time we stopped trying to take the mountain to Mohammed and just say embrace this or be left behind?

    I’m up for the latter personally, but in my own personal experience of consulting on SM, some companies need it to be explained in their language, so they feel comfortable.


  2. Hey Tom – thanks for pointing out my post. I’d agree with you that changing commentary, generally speaking, isn’t going to change much. I will say, however, that in the case of monitoring we need to start calling it what it really is. There is strategic value behind listening, just as there is market research. Whether we call it strategic listening, social media market research or whatever term you’d like to use we need to move away from monitoring. Monitoring is very tactical and listening is very strategic.

  3. @brandguardian, Hi Jo, thanks for commenting and sorry for my slow response, have been moving house so had no web access! I think that social media will grow in 2010 and may will certainly get taken more seriously in a number of areas, however I think we still have a long way to go to fullly understand the full business implications. I do agree that companies need to be sold to in their own language but I do think that really, the business benefits will sell themselves.

    @Chuck Hemann, Thanks for the comment, I read your article a while back and found it interesting, I agree that listening has massive strategic value and can see the logic behind your argument, again however, I believe the strategic value of the insight should speak for its self, regardless of the name!

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