Why We’ll Always Ask Social Media Strategists About Tools – Because of Game Changers Like Vera Wang

Jun 6th, 20116 Comments

Quick, what comes first – strategy, tactics or tools? Businesspeople worth their salt will say that strategy comes first, followed by tactics, and then finally, tools.

Jay Baer's Social Media Metrics Sequence

Jay Baer's Social Media Metrics Sequence – see www.convinceandconvert.com

In Jay Baer’s June 2 blog post about social media metrics, he illustrates this handily with an inverted pyramid, cautioning that if you’re tempted to first choose social media measurement tools, you should instead bring yourself up, Inception style, to think about your business goals and objectives first.

Further, Jay said that you shouldn’t get so myopically enamored with any one tool or metric that you lose sight of achieving business success in general.

One such example of how measurement drove the wrong behavior was apparent when I worked for Hewlett-Packard a million years ago and rotated once a week into its Sales Response Center. Our job there was to answer sales reps’ questions so they could more quickly issue quotes and close deals. But we were measured on our response time, not on the quality of our answers.  The result?  Reps got quick answers, but not necessarily correct ones.*

So back to Jay.  He emphasized that you have to know WHAT you are trying to measure first, and then investigate the available tools for HOW best to perform that measurement.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes you need to look at the tools first to even know what’s possible to measure. Sometimes new tools and new technologies open a realm of possibilities that you had no idea were even in play.  And when you do uncover those game-changing – at least for you – tools or metrics, you’d be wise to revamp one or two of your social media goals, objectives or tactics.  I’ll call this – bear with me now – the Vera Wang shift. (Pun intended.)

The Vera Wang Shift

Know anyone who got married before the mid 1990s?  If you do, chances are the bride wore a frilly “cake topper” gown like these below.  And when looking for a dress, she asked questions about the fullness of the skirt, the puffiness of the sleeves, the amount of lace, the neckline, and other (limited) basics of traditional bridal gowns.

Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride, 1950

Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride, 1950

Elizabeth McGovern in She's Having a Baby, 1988

Eliz McGovern in She's Having a Baby, 1988

Prince Charles & Princess Diana, 1981

Prince Charles & Princess Diana, 1981

Then came Vera Wang.  Engaged at age 39, she was frustrated with the lack of sophisticated, elegant bridalwear.  So she created her own dress, and then soon after, her own line of wedding dresses.  Her more streamlined, sleek look has been widely adopted in the bridal industry, but more importantly, her approach has been combined in countless ways with more traditional looks, so a much wider variety of options is now available.

Anne Hathaway & Kate Hudson in Bride Wars, 2009

Hathaway and Hudson in Bride Wars, 2009

Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, 1999

Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, 1999

Kate Middleton & Prince William, 2011

Kate Middleton and Prince William, 2011

Women who got married pre-Vera Wang now wistfully think “you mean I could have worn something like that?”  The point is – before Vera Wang, women didn’t even know other possibilities existed or that their choices were limited.  But post-Vera Wang brides have a different vision, more options, higher expectations and different questions. Vera Wang was a game changer.

So the question is, can a tool be a Vera Wang-class game changer? Specifically, can a social media measurement tool change your social media strategy?

People tasked with setting and/or implementing social media strategy for their company are afraid they’re missing some game-changing tool that could:

  • Save their company time and money, or just save them from having to work on weekends
  • Allow their company to innovate along some thread
  • Act as a disruptive technology (perish the thought!)

This is why people will always be tugging at the sleeves of social media strategists like Jay Baer and asking questions about tactics and tools.

Question:  Has any tool been a game changer for you or your company – so much so that it changed your strategy?

Suzanne Doughty
@suzanne_doughty

* As the resident Do the Right Thing aka Miss Goody Two Shoes, I felt compelled to give correct answers to sales reps, even if it blew my stats, which it did.

Other blog posts that might be of interest:

4 Responses to “Why We’ll Always Ask Social Media Strategists About Tools – Because of Game Changers Like Vera Wang”

  1. Jay Baer says:

    You raise an excellent point Suzanne, especially since each of these tools seems dedicated to creating some new metric that is essentially a different way to looking at the same pool of data.

    I really appreciate your post, and you’ve made me think about this issue a little differently.

    In terms of having people tug my sleeve, I’m all for it. It’s when people don’t care what you have to say that you’re really in trouble!

  2. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for your comment, Jay. I appreciate your response, and also the substance of your original post. Btw, I just re-listened to your talk from the Social Media Summit and it was very informative and actionable. Many thanks!
    Suzanne
    Sleeve-tuggers, unite! :)

  3. As a (relative; 1 1/2 years married) newlywed AND an employee of an internet marketing tools company, I love this post. “Game changer” is a sometimes overused term, but I think you chose the perfect example to illustrate your point. The right tool can make you totally change your mindset about your strategies (or just be able to devote lots more brainpower to them). And who wouldn’t choose the Vera Wang? ;)

  4. Suzanne says:

    Hey thanks, Courtney – appreciate your response. I agree that “game changer” is often overused, just as “disruptive technology” is. I’d propose that the new term be “Vera Wang shift”. :)
    Many thanks for taking time to comment.
    Suzanne
    Yes, I’d say 1.5 yrs is still a newlywed!

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