I see many Turkish executives (although I have a hunch that they are not alone) treat social media as the “odd new thing” they do not really understand but feel the need to be part of. We have been through this at least once before, when the Internet Revolution came to be. Most executives were excited but they were also afraid, because they did not know how to go about incorporating the Internet into their business. So most of them went out, grabbed a recent, tech-savvy college graduate, and if anyone asked they said they were taking care of the “internet minternet*” business of their organization. Nowadays, history sort of repeats itself and we see a bunch of young people who have cool titles such as “Social Media Specialist” or “Social Media Strategist” showing up at local firms to take care of the “social media” business of the organization.
Same as the Internet, social media is part of a whole, not the “odd new thing” that can be spun off and managed independently. Just as we cannot separate Internet from the various aspects of our business today, we cannot really think of social media independent of a coherent Marketing or Brand Strategy. Sure, one cannot successfully manage a marketing function if one does not understand the tools, but without a high level vision and understanding of the overall communication strategy, a tool such as social media is not a tool, but a toy.
Hollis Thomases, in her controversial article 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media, lists reasons why the easy way to handle social media may not be the best way.
“Just because you don’t understand social media doesn’t mean you should forfeit all common sense and hire your niece, nephew, or any other recent college grad (say, your best friend’s sister-in-law’s kid) because “they’re really good on Facebook.”
* “Internet minternet” is a Turkish phrase which means “Internet, et cetera.”