By Melanie Hollingsworth 

I love reading blogs and could lose myself in them for hours. There’s nothing more interesting than reading the opinions of others you’d never get the chance to meet and getting to know their characters through regular blog posts. That’s the beauty of social media. On the flip side, I’ve never actually had the guts to write my own before, and put my thoughts out into the public domain. This then, is my first foray into the world of blogging and I’ve chosen to write about the actual thing that allows this all to be possible – social media.

As a member of the SW+A social media team, I’ve recently finished a number of sessions on social media both internally and with clients. These include everything from introduction sessions, to sessions on understanding measurement, to post-campaign debrief sessions. There is a lot to be learned about social media, and I am by no means an expert, but, I thought I’d use this blog post to share one of my earliest lessons on social media.

The lesson is this: When evaluating social media programs or ideas, don’t forget to use common sense and your own judgement. If the idea, platforms, mediums, etc. don’t make sense to you, or seem overly complicated, they likely won’t make sense to the most people.

In a past life as a strategic planner, I sat through numerous creative presentations on digital campaigns where I would think to myself “I’d never do that” or “what are all these techie platforms they’re talking about”. Finally I asked our digital planner how I could learn more about the platforms and mediums so I didn’t feel like such an unknowledgeable idiot in these sessions. His answer surprised me as he told me that if I didn’t get what was being presented, chances were the general population wasn’t going to get it either. I would have been better to speak up and say that I thought things were a little too complicated rather than trying to become as tech-savvy as my creative teams.

It’s not easy to be the one to stand up in a creative presentation and admit that you “don’t get it and that you think others won’t get it either” meaning that the idea isn’t quite there yet. Of course, there’s a lot more to evaluating social media programs than just your gut instinct. In the end, using your own common sense will save you dollars wasted on campaigns that the majority of the population won’t understand, resulting in embarrassingly low response and engagement rates that you definitely don’t want to share with your management teams!   

As marketers, we have lots of tools, textbooks and information for developing the best and most effective marketing programs. Sometimes though we need to remember to use the best tool in our tool box – our own intuition!