Sometimes our travels end up taking us in the middle of nowhere. When you arrive in the middle of nowhere you realize you took the wrong road and ended up nowhere. Traveling throughout social media can yield the same thing.
Social creep are conversation that goes nowhere. Social creeps are people and organizations that “push” irrelevant conversations that entice you to go nowhere.
Nowhere typically means a place not near anything of relevance to your original intent. Ever had a conversation with someone that started in one place but ended nowhere? Ever been at an airport and your plane is canceled leaving you feeling like you are going “nowhere”? Ever left a business meeting about ideas or plans and having the sense “this is going nowhere”?
Nowhere is a non-productive place to be when your initial intent was to be somewhere. To get to somewhere of relevance requires communications that focus on the intent and end with an agreement on how to get there or somewhere close to the intended destination.
The Emergence of Social Creep
Social creep (also called focus creep, intention creep, message creep, audience creep) in social engagement refers to uncontrolled changes and distractions that steal time and thus productivity from an audience. This phenomenon can occur when the intent of messages are not properly defined, tested, or vetted with the crowd. It is generally considered a negative occurrence, and thus, should be avoided. In other words social creep is totally non-productive yet few brands seem to be paying attention.
Typically, social creep increase consists of trying to create a transaction without considering the intent of an audience. As a result, the resources of the audience (time) risks drifting away from their original intent because of frustration, delays and productivity loses. As social creep grows, an audience has to spent more time trying to fulfill their original intent. Thus, social creep can result in excessive delays fulfilling intents and worse yet stealing time away from an audience while never fulfilling their original intent. Sound familiar?
Social creep can be a result of:
- Disingenuous messages with a determined intent to capture the audience rather than fulfill their intent
- A lack of knowledge about what social engagement means and how it is viewed by the audience
- Lack of initial identification of what an audience needs to save time and be more productive during their engagement with you
- Weak comprehension of what “social means” and the related experiences with your organization portrays
- Using this thing called social media in silos rather than leveraging it throughout the enterprise as a communications tool to improve productivity
- Spending countless hours and ways to measure all things social while ignoring the value of productive human interaction and communications
Social creep is a risk in most organizations. Most organizations fall victim to social creep Social creep often results in cost overruns, negative market sentiment and lack of true customer engagement.
What About Social Creeps?
Social creeps are people and organizations who intentionally use all things social in a selfish manner. It is kind of like telling your spouse “Honey, all I want from you is sex.” Which means the relationship is limited in its intent. Relationships like these last for a minute and will take you nowhere.
If you want to get anywhere rather than nowhere avoid social creep and definitely creeps. Both are easy to spot if you view life’s experiences through the lens of the human network.