align communications structure social

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“Just as we teach our children how to ride a bike, we need to teach them how to navigate social media and make the right moves that will help them.

The physical world is similar to the virtual world in many cases. It’s about being aware. We can prevent many debacles if we’re educated.”

——

Amy Jo Martin

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“99.5 percent of the people that walk around and say they are a social media expert or guru are clowns.

We are going to live through a devastating social media bubble.”

——

Gary Vaynerchuk

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Ok.

 

 

social media specialist

 

There is structuralism … there is social structure … there can be structure holes … but if I google Social media structuralist … I get zilch, nada, nothing.

 

 

I have created a title and job.

And it is mine.

 

 

Let me explain me as a “social media structuralist.”

 

 

As a curious 50something social media is exciting, challenging and daunting … personally and professionally. In the professional world of communications if I hear one more person suggest “you need to reinvent yourself” to be a successful 50something in today’s professional world I am going to shoot myself.

 

Conceptually I understand it, and buy it, but conceptually it also suggests that everything I have learned and know is useless.

 

 

I refuse, and refused, to believe I had suddenly become a blithering idiot simply because the world wide web offered a zillion new ways to connect with people.

 

 

In my own stubborn way I have dabbled in social media but not immersed myself in the technical aspects nor have I become a user experience expert <although I have written and consulted on it> nor have I studied social media strategy <although I have written and consulted on it>.

And in my own stubbornness I have increasingly found myself becoming a … well … structuralist.

 

 

By the way … I am not sure there is actually a career in this nor is it a way to make a living but it simply represents what I am often asked to do and help with.

 

 

As a structuralist I seem to always be surrounded by gobs of people <mostly significantly younger … with an occasional older person posing as a social media expert … and sounding silly> all with more knowledge about the social media universe and social media tracking and social media … well … everything social … and, yet, for some reason at some point the discussion always seems to swing around to me where I end up scribbling one of my infamously bad hand written diagrams on some cool board <which seem to follow social media experts around wherever they congregate> to show some structure core aspect to the entire discussion.

This seems to … well … build structure to the idea and the thinking.

 

I will admit … it is almost always contains ‘content’ in the center. But I am not a content specialist … I am more a communications, connecting & behavior generalist … aw … what the heck – I am a social media structuralist.

 

 

Now.

 

not an architect structuralist

This is different than social media architects <mostly because apparently that is a real existing job>. Social media architects don’t just create a social media system. They must also manage the system effectively.

 

 

I certainly do not claim to know social media well enough to create a system architecture. Nor would I be an expert at managing the system.

 

But what I find is that many of the experts understand tactics and specific feature management … but don’t really understand how to manage benefits and create communications structure <so all the pieces and parts don’t go flying off into the ether at some point>.

 

They need structure. And I don’t mean rules and responsibilities or even tracking … it is more along the lines of helping them understand building the core foundation of the structure which permits them the freedom to be creative in what is an incredibly fast shifting creative space. I find myself helping young people <or other ‘social media experts’> who know significantly more than I do about social media build a ‘home structure’ from which they leave tactically <and strategically if they are good> and yet always come home to <even when in their freedom they fell flat on their face>.

 

 

And what they find is that … well … two things:

 

 

<1> because they have left a home they like and are comfortable with … even if they fail … there is always place to go home to and the world has not crumbled <that is a metaphor that suggests the entire program doesn’t fall apart … just a piece>, and

 

 

<2> when they leave the home structure they are finding that incorporating a piece of the home structure in everything they do increases overall effectiveness and strengthens the piece they created as well as the home structure.

 

FU at core social communications

Now.

 

 

The other thing as a structuralist I find myself talking about is tracking and success.

Inevitably there are gobs of dashboards and incredibly cool graphs and, of course, so much data your head would explode.

 

———

“When I hear people debate the ROI of social media?

It makes me remember why so many business fail.

Most businesses are not playing the marathon. They’re playing the sprint.

They’re not worried about lifetime value and retention. They’re worried about short-term goals.”

===

Gary Vaynerchuk

———–

 

 

As a structuralist, and a guy who has found using metaphors as a successful way to permit people to envision the business challenge, I talk about the social media structure in terms of … well … our favorite structure – the home.

 

– Who do I want to bring into MY home?

 

– What would I want them to see when they walk in?

 

– Do I leave my front door unlocked?

 

– Do I lock the bedroom door and only give keys to those who I want an intimate relationship with?

 

– Who do I let rummage through all my memories in the attic?

 

 

You get it.

 

And, lo and behold, they get it.

 

And who gets it the most? … the business owners and leaders themselves.

 

 

And then, of course, you get stuck talking about ‘how do you know it is working <or is it all ‘fluff’>?

 

 

I am not a huge tracking and metrics guy. I admit it.

 

I love to learn about what works and what doesn’t work … but getting your underwear all tied in a knot because I only got 5 ‘hits’ today or my monthly website traffic is down <or up> seems silly <and a waste of worrying energy>.

But … I have found if you put a high ‘quality filter’ on what you do and how you view what you do than you can judge success not on the quantity but rather the quality of your efforts and success.

 

 

There is a guy named Jeremiah Owyang who developed a hierarchy of metrics attempting to show how the metrics for social media and serving various stakeholders can live together in a program.
owang social tracking structureOwyang proposes distinguishing different, but related, metrics for different layers in an organization:

 

 

– Business metrics, for executives (and ‘everyone else who supports them’), summarizing the social media analytics

 

– Social media analytics, for the managers and employees who are strongly engaged in social media, focusing on how social media impacts business

 

– Engagement data, for community managers and communications agencies, measuring the social footprint in detail (e.g. in clicks, followers, likes, retweets, views, etc.).

 

 

If I were stuck with someone who demanded some type of metrics and measurement tracking this is most likely where I would begin talking thru what we needed to track <and let someone else who knew how to do it better than I design how we would do it>.

 

 

Social media structuralist.

 

 

I doubt I can pay the bills being whatever this is … but … I like the fact I remained stubborn with regard to what I know as still having some value … and yet embraced my love for social media.

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Written by Bruce