I started working at immediate future in 2011. What a vastly time that was to be working in social media. Everyone, brand and agency was trying to figure out the landscape and how to tackle it. These were the days of Facebook pages with Like gates (yup, chasing Likes – some people still do) and when you still got organic reach through the platform.
It’s been a real journey and one that has been exciting, interesting, challenging, tricky and very rewarding. There is nothing more satisfying for me than making sense of the madness, let’s face it – social media is full on mental! It has been a real pleasure working with my colleagues and with our clients to solve complex challenges and deliver results in a fast paced, always-on environment.
So, am going to try and distil all my learning into 5 key takeaways from the last 5 years, here we go:
1) Knee jerking isn’t being reactive
There is a very big difference between doing something because everyone else is or you think you should vs operating within a framework which allows you to be reactive. The easiest contextual example of this is in relation to launching new channels. “All the “millennials” on Snapchat so should we!” That is knee jerk. Planning the pilot launch of Snapchat wrapped around a specific event which is targeting a millennial audience – test, learn and see what happens. All done in a timely manner – reactive.
Knee jerkers end up looking like jerks from my experience. Someone will eventually turn around analyse the efforts and say what was the point? Box tickers, bore off.
2) Always be working towards an ideal state
Because social media is all consuming and is likely to suck up your time day-to-day (both agency and brand) it is very easy to get stuck in the weeds.
That is why it is so important to have a strategy of sorts, an ideal state you are working towards. It is not say that you necessarily need to make this a huge exercise but you need to have some milestones in mind and give yourself and your teams the space to stand back every so often to re-assess performance.
3) Always tweak the ideal state
It all changes very quickly. Very very quickly. The strategy or plan you put together even a few weeks ago will need tweaking (not that I am suggesting a few weeks is a good time span).
Essentially there is not utopia state, no ideal formula for exceptional social media marketing, digital, content or bloody anything. Don’t fix your ideals. Knee evolving them.
4) Don’t get hung up on the small things
It will probably be forgotten about tomorrow. The world moves so quickly. That isn’t of course about working in social media but just our life pace has changed. Everything is faster.
And with that in mind, the small things get forgotten faster. So you should forget them too…measure everything you can, fail fast and learn quick. No time to waste your energy!
5) You can’t win every battle
Sometimes things are or of your control – brand or agency side. My biggest learning here is in relation to measurement. We have developed an ideal state for effective social media (& content marketing) measurement but there is real step change to get there. Some of the component parts that make this piece complete are outside of our remit and out of our control.
Some battles are just not worth fighting (now, might be later). Look for small incremental wins which add up to the bigger picture (why you need an ideal state ;-).
Luckily for me at IF, we have always been given the freedom to try new things, to push no boundaries, to have the courage to say NO when we don’t believe it is the best thing for our client.
Finally, have some FUN! We work in an industry which is exciting. It’s there to be defined, created, broken down and built again. Embrace it 🙂