Want vs. Need for Social Media

by Jay Deragon on 12/27/2008

Your client or employer asks if you could provide them an assessment of how effective are they using social media and related technology. They ask “Do you have a check sheet of tools we should use?” How would you respond?

We asked that similar question to a consulting firm who asked for our help in launching a “Social Media Campaign” for one of their clients. Our question was “Have you done an assessment of your clients needs?” Their response was “Why would we do an assessment of need when the client already knows what they want?” OK, pinch me if I am wrong but wanting something isn’t necessarily the same as needing something. A diabetic may want candy but if you give them too much it will harm them.

Needs vs. Wants

It appears as though everybody wants to or is using social media and related technologies. More and more businesses are adopting the tools and methodologies as an extension of their traditional marketing efforts. Given the growth and conversations about of all this “social stuff” individuals and businesses are attracted to it like ants drawn by the scent of sugar.

Social media and related technologies are definitely an attractive option personally and professionally. Used properly and aligned systemically the economic gains both in cost reductions and revenue enhancement could be of significant value to all involved. However, launching full force into social media campaigns without addressing related “needs” is like playing tennis by watching the scoreboard. How you play is how you score. Scoring does not happen unless you play a good game.

To Get What You Want Start with What You Need

All this “social stuff” creates a lot of needs before one can get what they want. Individuals and business alike need to go through a significant learning curve before they can get what they want. We need to learn how to do a lot of things right including:

  1. Use the technology in the right way for the right purposes
  2. Engagement in meaningful conversations
  3. Sell without selling
  4. Create and give value beyond expectations
  5. Leverage time, talent, knowledge and relations collaboratively

And the list of needs extends as the emerging dynamics create new experiences and subsequent opportunities. Thus it seems logical that assessing what you need to get what you want would seem to be an important step. Otherwise you may get what you want but it won’t necessarily fulfill the need you have. Getting a lot of media attention may mean attention to the wrong thing.

An assessment of “needs” should always come before launching a social media campaign or using social technologies for whatever purpose. If you don’t do your own assessment the market will do it for you.

We can learn together and lift all boats or we can learn alone and row our own boat against the rising tide.

What say you?


JDeragon February 26, 2009 at 6:30 am

Want vs. Need for Social Media…….. http://snipr.com/coorv

Guillaume December 27, 2008 at 1:50 pm

you should quote Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse!”

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