Are you looking for the solution to a business problem? Don’t start a social media plan… by Bertrand Duperrin

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Despite a marked improvement in general maturity on the subject, we continue to hear too many incantatory approaches such as ‘if you don’t use social media, you will die’. Not only does the systematic nature of the discourse applied to all topics irritate decision-makers and damage its credibility, but it also misleads them. Saying that social media is the only way to achieve something leads to developing strategies that focus on using the tool rather than building strategies to solve a problem. A tool will never help execute a plan that doesn’t exist.

Clairvoyant as usual, Luis Suarez said some time ago: “Don’t start with the tools, they are not your final destination”. I’m sure, unlike two years ago, everyone eventually integrates and understands this point of view and even publishers admit, even if it’s sometimes against the nature of people living off a sales license, that the product is just part of a more global change process.

Yes but…

The small world of social media believers is still fishing for too much proselytism. The question is not so much the correctness of the discourse as its systematic and Manichaean character. Take any business matter, it just needs to get a little bit fashionable to be entitled to the “If you don’t use social media to….your business risks….” . To dismiss at will: “If you’re not using social media to innovate, engage your employees, share, interact with your customers…. , your business is at risk of dying, becoming obsolete, losing its customers….”. You will see that tomorrow it will be necessary to repaint the reception hall via social media.

A speech that poses problems in terms of credibility… and which is misleading in a way because it is partially false.

First, a credibility issue. Decision-makers have been hearing this kind of discourse for a few years now, on every possible and imaginable topic, and their systematic nature irritates and erodes their credibility. With every problem they are told to use social media to solve it… so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they don’t pay attention to it anymore because not only do they expect to be told, but on top of that it changes the world from the small world of social media to a cult that preaches only for its parish at all times.

Think of our youth. And the talk about parents trying to make us eat things we don’t like. “You have to eat this to grow / not be sick / be good at school / not be tired”. Whenever we felt a little sick or weak, we suspected the answer before we even mentioned our problem. And logically it irritated us or made us smile, but it never made us consume the hated food.

But there’s worse: the speech is false. Let’s put it bluntly: to say that if a company doesn’t use social media to innovate, engage, or whatever, the worst things will happen is an intellectual scam. You have a problem of innovation, of involvement of your employees, so install an adequate platform and wait… You risk waiting a long time before something happens.

There are companies where the social climate is good, innovative companies, companies that are loved by their customers….. and that do nothing with the tools in question. What does that mean? That before you use social media to do anything, first decide what to do, develop a strategy to get there and see how you can execute this plan. And it will often happen that the well-known social media appear as part of this device. But only one item. Companies that succeed without today will certainly get there one day, but they have time because they already have real strategies to tackle these problems and do not wait for a magical tool to achieve objectives that have never really been addressed for reasons so numerous. are if they are varied … (and not all of them can be admitted)

Social media will never help you execute a plan that doesn’t exist, employing a strategy that no longer exists, to achieve a goal that boils down to a word or phrase we hoped would be self-governing.

You want to innovate, involve your employees, capitalize on your knowledge better, etc. Start with the decision to do that and make a concrete plan to get there. Then review the tools needed to execute the plan. In some cases you can get there without social media, in other cases they will allow you to overcome certain blockages, in other cases to do it radically better in the end. But if you start with the idea that if you don’t use social media to get there, you’re going to build a strategy around the product and not at the service of your problem and it’s doomed to fail because you’re wondering how to do it. has to do. it adopts the tool instead of serving the people who serve your strategy.

For example, General Electric had a long-standing, efficient problem-solving device that had been used “in real life.” Their internal platform only increased that device’s bandwidth. They used social media for a real plan. The device gives meaning to the tool that improves the functioning of the device. But without the device, the tool is nothing. And similar examples abound.

Social media are catalysts, accelerators, tools that can make things infinitely easier. But they will never support a plan that doesn’t exist. Using it does not solve any problem by itself and will never prevent problems from being looked in the eye.

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Photo credit: Benjamin Boccas

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