"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough."

Social media is the new popular kid at school.  The one whose dad just got a big promotion prompting his family to move in a couple houses down.  He has the coolest bike, the newest video games, the nicest clothes and a trampoline! All the girls love him and all the guys want to hang out with him.  Except brands.

When it comes to the world of social media, brands are the cool kids who have been dethroned by the new kid at school.  They used to run the show through means of traditional marketing and brand management, but have lost the spotlight to the internet and social media.

In his post, “A Control Freak’s Guide to Social Media Influence,” found on Mashable, Paul Worthington talks about the inability for brands to fully utilize social media as a means of influence because they are unable to relinquish their illusion of control.

Worthington explains that brands have always sought to control the thoughts of the perspective audiences when the key has always been influence.  This false belief is what has a lot of branding managers jealous of the new kid on the block and reluctant to embrace social media.

In these new times where social media is reigning supreme in the world of online influence, brands need to change their strategy and give up the ideal of control.  Worthington tries to help them by providing three principles that good influencers demonstrate:

1. Listen then respond– “Before engaging with the conversation it’s important to first listen to it, see what is being said and interpret what this means.”

2. Be comfortable with ambiguity– “Conversation is messy, real time, and often capricious. At first what you see will appear chaotic, unmanageable and intimidating. The reality is that it isn’t your job to manage or control it – but to respond to it.”

3. Filter through your purpose– ” Here, having a strong brand purpose is a crucial tool – it becomes the tangible filter through which you listen and respond.”

I think that all companies would be wise to apply these suggestions to any social media influence that they hope to attain.  I am an active user of social media and, to me, it seems like too many brands are trying to use social media for marketing and public relations means, but are doing so ineffectively.  They are too stuck in their old ways to fully embrace the new kid and try out his trampoline.  Times are changing quickly with new social media applications coming out daily and I think for any company to be successful they need to quickly change their attitudes about social media and dive in head first or they will be left behind.

What do you think?  Are brands not applying themselves enough when it comes to social media?  Is this trend going to be around enough for companies to invest a lot of attention into?  What are some successful branding techniques that companies have been using on social media?

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3 Responses to "If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough."

  1. tmpace says:

    I completely agree that if companies do not join in the social media they will be left behind. I believe some brands are using social media wisely and others have no idea what they are doing. I really like the companies who are using twitter accounts to answer questions and solve problems. This is an effective way to use Twitter as a company, but the Companies who update their twitter accounts every five seconds with random info are going to find themselves not followed. I think all companies need to learn how to use social media in an effective way or else their online presence will only include their personal websites.

  2. redhippo says:


    I beleive that the reason why social media is so important these days is because the internet has given
    more freedom than ever before for independent minds to challenge products with par example: reviews and so forth.

    Obama did it right with the times, he ran a social-political campaign, using Facebook and blogs and is the first to have an open-source democracy… Almost like internet developers. People are’nt sheep anymore thanks to social media.
    And now marketing is facing the biggest challenge to re-new it’s strategies for a more independent breed of consumers.

  3. sekane says:

    Brands often have very specific missions or goals. Their mission and goal should be present not just in their store of within their business but when they put themselves into the social media world. They must apply the same standards to their social media reputation as they do to their reputation offline. It is important that brands continue to set themselves apart online when things in the stream can tend to flow together. We must keep ourselves unique and different.

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