I’ve found that in the world of social media you really never know what’s going to happen next. It presents a relative unknown where in more traditional communications practices, one could make a fairly accurate prediction about how a campaign or news feature would progress.
With social media, it’s as almost as there’s an “all bets are off” vibe that professionals are constantly trying to harness and control. In the world of marketing, knowing consumers, their behaviours, their habits and all the demo- and psychographics about everyone has become a business in itself. But with social media, anything can happen. All it takes is for one person to be offended, or thrilled, or upset or supportive of a tweet or a post and a whole campaign can go viral – in a good way or bad way.
The thing is, it’s really hard to predict how something will go. A seemingly innocuous campaign that was focus-tested could be trashed on-line because another perspective never came into play during testing. Conversely, a simple, off-the-cuff remark on Twitter could go viral with thousands of people loving it. But making something go the much-coveted positive viral, can’t happen. And reacting and mitigating the much-feared negative viral is difficult to control.
I find it fascinating how so much focus and pressure is on all the analytics where it seems to me that this should only be another piece of a bigger picture. True, thing have evolved in the comms and marketing worlds in terms of tactics, but, really, the strategies to achieve goals and objectives remain the same. I find myself wondering if too much focus is on the analytics now that the big picture gets lots in the personas, SEO and engagement metrics.
That being said, the communications world has finally found a way to appropriately measure itself. Engagement, re-tweets, likes, thumbs up, thumbs down, a heart all instantly let organizations know what their target audiences are thinking about them. Months of evaluation are now minutes. Analytics are instant and can become as granular as desired. It’s a whole new world that is fascinating and, can easily be addictive (see above re: losing focus). All those years of being ambiguous about whether or not target audiences received or followed key messages can now be easily tracked from anywhere. Communications easily transitions into marketing with the use of ads and promoted tweets. It’s as if both of these worlds have finally figured out how to cohabit together in a productive environment.
Through this program and the Digital Analytics program, I’ve learned so much about the field of social media and how to maximize the dissemination and collection of information.