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June 10, 2011 / Mervyn Dinnen

Where Are You On The Social Media Super Highway?

I’ve had the opportunity recently to hang out with some really great thought leaders in the social media space (Scott Stratten and Amanda Hite at the Jobsite Fresh Thinkers series) and also to attend a couple of presentations from digital agencies who have been looking at how big brands approach social media.

It’s always interesting at the breakout and networking sessions (coffee breaks are so passe) to chat to attendees and find out where they are in terms of social media adoption and usage, both on a personal and professional level. Because of the job that I have there is an assumption that I’m one of the ones who ‘gets it’ and conversations inevitably move on to how I got started and what is holding others back from taking the plunge.

On a personal level there always seem to be three recurring themes:

  • No time
  • Don’t know what to say
  • Worried about privacy

Whilst on a professional level there is only ever one – their company is not convinced of the value of using social media and is worried about employees using the platforms to misrepresent the business.

So far I’ve found that most people really just need encouragement and positive reinforcement to get started and dip their toe in the conversation, yet a lot of the advice out there is often technical and evangelical.

We need encouragers, enablers and enhancers but too often get champions, experts and gurus.

I was talking about this over lunch with Anne McCrossan the other day. Anne is a highly intelligent person who certainly ‘gets it’ and is founder of a consultancy that works with businesses on strategy and social marketing and brand development.

We talked about the barriers people find to using social media platforms and I ended up likening social media usage to a motorway – The Social Media Super Highway possibly.

As I see it, there are four types of drivers:

Waiting to get on

These will be new drivers not confident enough in their own ability to navigate the speed and length of journey, mainly through either a fear of the unknown or a lack of confidence in their vehicle’s capability to last the journey.

Got to get the offline right before you go online

Inside lane

These drivers are usually happy to go slowly, take their time, get to know the road and the route, build up confidence and not feel pressurised to go faster. They may be beginners, or experienced drivers who are comfortable going their own pace. This lane also used by the tanker and HGV drivers, business traffic knowing that this pace suits their long term objective. They may even get themselves  a convoy! (In fact, was Convoy the original ‘community of interest’ building song/movie?)

You dictate the pace you go

Middle Lane

Overtaking lane for those who want to go a bit faster and not get caught behind slower vehicles. Many experienced drivers do stay in this lane and keep a faster pace. They are usually confident in their driving abilities, adept at the overtaking manoeuvre and looking to vary their journey with slower and faster passages, often within quite a comfortable vehicle.

Only go faster because you need to not because you think you have to. Converse when you have something to say.

Fast lane

Big cars or boy racers, they put their foot down and thrash the engine…because the can! Noisy, don’t like slower cars getting in the way. Not necessarily good drivers, or over confident drivers, they like to make a noise and hog the fast lane. Take risks and often have to swerve causing other drivers problems. Trying to keep pace with them can put you on a Highway to Hell!

There will always be someone who wants to make a bigger noise. It doesn’t mean they are a better driver nor have a better car. Be careful if you try and copy, you may be the one that has the accident

And then there are…

Service Stations

They say ‘tiredness kills’ when driving motorways, and similarly pushing yourself when the quality of content is poor can damage your brand. As with any conversation, don’t talk if you don’t have anything to say. Take a pit stop. Rest, refuel and get back on the road when you’re ready to go again.

Remember it’s a journey, not a destination….

What kind of driver are you? And what’s keeping you off the road?

Here are a couple of tunes to help you on your way…

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Andy Headworth / Jun 10 2011 8:47 AM

    Like the analogy Mervyn. It works perfectly.

    I think you must have been to the Peter Gold analogy school!! (Only yours is better)

  2. Rowena Simpson / Jun 17 2011 8:20 AM

    Nice post Mervyn, and neat analogy. I reckon I’m a driver who loves to go out for a spin, but seems to get bogged down with household chores too often.

    Note to self: Get the car out this weekend and give it some welly!

    @rowenasimpson

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