Like most things everything in life, getting results requires purposeful practice. Getting social media right is no different. Sure the world of social media is still evolving. But one thing is clear is that marketing can no longer “control the conversation”, it must “join the conversation”. Which requires a completely different set of skills, attitudes and metrics.

A step into the unknown

This is potentially very unsettling and threatening. For many marketing departments this is a step into the unknown. Results take longer, if indeed you can even connect the actions with any meaningful results. And as marketing teams are under pressure from sales and senior management to “show their value”, social media is seen as way too risky.

But those who get it right can be hugely successful. But to get it right a company needs to be VERY clear on what it is and what it wants to be associated with – i.e. which conversations it wants to join. And this is probably the biggest challenge is agreeing on the target market that is the focus and personality that marketing want to convey for the company.

A great example is RedBull. They have said that they want to be associated with high adrenalin sports; mountain biking, skiing, sailing, air races etc. The video clip below shows how well it can work. The video has had 22,324,942 hits. But the video has an extremely talented rider and the filming is exquisite. Not something knocked up on an iPhone one lunchtime.

A clear strategy required

And this video is part of a highly orchestrated marketing strategy which covers events, PR, social media sites and sponsorship. Social media is not a separate strand of marketing which can be kept discrete. “We are doing social media” is as ridiculous as as “We are doing email”.

And finally, it will change the way the front office and potentially back office processes will operate. If someone tweets, blogs, comments on a video or posts on Facebook how will you respond? If it is positive what do you do the spread that “positivity”. If it is negative what do you do?

Leave the office, now

This is a time for marketing directors to take some time with the CEO, COO and Head of Sales to think about how social media can potentially supercharge brand recognition and lead generation. But is all starts with the question “What is the company and what does it stand for?” But to answer this question you need to be away from the turmoil of day to day activities and mobile phones.

And based on the video, I’d suggest the Isle of Skye would be the perfect place to meet.