I have a point to this post, I promise. Bear with me for a little bit and you’ll understand where I’m going.
A girl was scrolling down her newsfeed on Facebook and she came across a post someone had put on her sister’s wall. The post was from a family friend sending her condolences about the death of her father. Shocked and confused, the girl called her mom to see if this post was real. It was. Social media informed this poor girl about her father’s death faster than the girls own mother could contact her.
So what’s my point with this? My point is social media is now faster than day-to-day communication, on an extreme level. It doesn’t wait for anyone. And if you are a company using social media for marketing purposes, you need to be on your game. If you want to be the company people are talking about, you need to be first. And to be first, you need to be fast. Really fast. If you fall behind, you will never catch up. You will be buried by the noise of other brands and have extreme difficulty in getting your company’s voice heard.
Social media waits for no one, in both a positive and negative way. Blogger Jay Baer posts
I agree with him completely. If you are first, you have more power to influence the consumer than the 3 or 4 companies’ that follow you up. The speed of social media can be a powerful tool in positioning yourself in the forefront of the consumer’s mind.
But like I said, there are negatives to the speed of social media, as well. Like in the story of that poor girl and her father, social media can be too fast for our own good. From a marketing standpoint, an example is clicking that post button too fast. We all know the importance of first impressions. Marketing can often be the first impression of a company to a consumer. And if you mess up a first impression with the consumer, you may have just bombed any chance you had on acquiring that consumer. So you need to get it right. And we all know that speed and getting things right don’t always go hand in hand. In their race to keep up with the speed of social media, many companies have kicked themselves in the butt. For example, in his race to be puny and comical on the present state of our country possibly sending our military into Syria, Kenneth Cole tweeted
He didn’t stop a second to think of the negative perception his followers would have on him after so rudely and coldly using our nation’s men in uniform as a marketing vantage point. He realized his mistake of heartlessness soon after, when he received an incoming of negative remarks and reprimands from consumers about his distastefulness. But it was too late. He had already pressed the post button and the damage was done. He brought on a negative and tarnishing light on his brand. He was too quick to the draw and the speed of social media punished him greatly for it.
Getting the balance right between saying things in a fast enough manner and not being too fast where you put your foot in your mouth is a meticulous and important task. If done correctly, you can harness the power of a speedy social media environment but if you aren’t careful, you could also suffer the damages that the speed of social media can so easily bring.
The clock is ticking. Ready, set, post.