Swinging blind?

It is a story that is played out in many little leagues across the country weekly. There is a young boy (let’s call him Jack) who despite his best efforts is just unable to get a hit. He has certainly made it on base, he’s drawn several walks and even been hit a few times. In spite of his meager batting average, he remains enthusiastic and enjoys the team and the game. On this particular Saturday, there’s nothing remarkable – it’s not the last game of the season, it’s not two out and bases loaded – it’s just Jack’s turn to bat.

Jack steps into the batter’s box and the first pitch comes in….swing and a miss.  The next pitch comes in and it’s low and outside. The third pitch sails in:  Jack swings and thump – it’s a hit! At this point, no one is more in shock than Jack. His dad and his coach begin yelling, “Run, run, run!” It takes a couple of seconds but Jack begins to run, rounds first and makes it to second.  Everyone on the team and in the stands is cheering. It doesn’t really matter at this point if they win or lose; everyone is excited that Jack got a hit and made it on base.

As they are leaving the field, Jack’s dad proudly says: “Great hit son, great hit!”

The he asks: “What did you do differently today?” Jack’s answer was quite a surprise; “Dad I did what I always do – step into the batter’s box, take my practice swing, watch the pitcher carefully and as the ball leaves his glove, I close my eyes and swing as hard as I can.” At this point the dad asks in a puzzled tone, “Son why do you close your eyes?” And Jack confidently responds, “Isn’t that what everyone does?”

This is a scenario played out in various companies as well every day. They decide they need to get in the game: social media. And they in essence close their eyes and hope for the best. They set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account and start broadcasting without any rhyme or reason. And then they wonder why their community/audience is not growing. They do not have a plan or strategy; they just start posting, hoping that, if they build it, the audience will come.

Simply put, this will not work. The companies who are succeeding today are moving beyond social media; they are moving toward a social business model and their social strategy is what the experts would refer to as ‘social by design’. They have more than a plan – they have a strategy.  They have a cadence of communications designed to inform, engage and drive word of mouth.

Over the next few posts, we will discuss what are the key the elements of a successful strategy, and what it is meant by social business. We will discuss what drives word of mouth and why it is important. Or how do you make your social brand architecture irresistible?


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