Social media often bridges the gap between the commercial arm of the business and customer service or marketing. It’s a good place to be because it gives you the freedom and creativity to add value and contribute across the company, but it’s also hard to keep your integrity when you have split priorities.
- Social media for example is ALL about engagement, customer service, retention, relationships, loyalty, trust and goodwill.
- Commerce is all about sales, transactions, media, acquisition, seo and page rankings.
When I’m in Manchester I drive an hour to get home each night, and as thinking about this is somehow made me think of lumberjacks and tree huggers. Both have very valid credentials. They both have a role and a purpose to play, but they often find themselves fighting against each other. One might be protecting the environment and trying to make the keep the world a better (more natural) place for everyone, whilst the other is providing food and income for his family by working hard and selling wood. By comparison, lumberjacks could quite easily be the sales guys, and social media (as it is a bit fluffier), could be the tree huggers. Both compete for the attentions of the customer – but sometimes at the expense of the business. So is one more important than the other?
It’s hard to argue because everyone will have a different viewpoint depending upon where they are looking at the situation, but they both have an important role to play. The really good stuff happens when organisations like Greenpeace, Make Trade Fair or FSC come into play because they are the glue that sticks both sides together.
In my opinion, social media is exaclty the same. It’s the glue that sticks parts of the business together who previously may not talk to each other. It’s OK that you don’t want to be obsessed with sales and transactions, but we are here to sell things and make a profit. Likewise, it’s great to think ethically and have a more holistic view of the business, but without the commercials there wouldn’t be a business to worry about.
It might all sound like a bit of a cliche but at least makes sense in my mind (!). So whichever one you are, a lumberjack or a tree hugger, just remember that special things can happen when you understand each other and start to work together…