We had a big organizational meeting last month where we talked about the role of social media in what we did. As I listened, it felt like social media was completely dominating the conversation. In the midst of the discussion, I shared this observation. See if it sounds like some people you've heard the last 6-12 months.
Lately, many have put a ton of focus on social media, and rightly so. But to hear some people talk, you'd think that social media had become the purpose. I mean, I know you feel the need to be on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and wherever else, but is that the only communication you're going to do from now on? Is that all of your marketing and communications efforts? Is that all you'll do, period?
Then I offered this analogy. Your organization is like a car. The driver is the purpose, mission, goals of the organization. Buildings, equipment, staff, they're the engine. Social media? It's just one of the wheels.
The driver knows where you're going, and the engine makes the whole thing move. The wheels are how you get there, and social media is ONE of those wheels. Customer service is another, as is Public Relations. Other MarComm efforts are additional wheels. Social media? Just one of several important pieces.
To be sure, a car can't go anywhere without the wheels, but they sure aren't the totality of the vehicle either. And you won't go very far with only wheel, for that matter, and they better all be going in the same direction.
So, I concluded, social media is important, but not more so than the other 'wheels'. And all communications need to be integrated and working together, or the car will have a rough go of it.
And it sure isn't the engine.