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Do you have an “and” social-media presence?

Blue cardiogram

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Is your company’s social-media marketing focused on maintaining customer loyalty or winning over new customers?

  • Quantity — we use social media to get new customers — 14.63%
  • Quality — we focus efforts on boosting customer retention — 23.58%
  • Both — we keep a good balance between numbers and loyalty — 61.79%

At a recent conference, I listened to business author Jim Collins talk about how companies need to embrace “a culture of ‘and'” to survive. Great companies, he says, reject the false choice between innovation and staying true to the core values. These companies know that to endure, they have to find new ways to interpret and execute their mission.

Of course, we all know it isn’t that easy. I’m sure many companies would love to choose “and” — but at the end of the day, they don’t know how to hold on to both goals. Social-media marketing is no different — we want wide exposure, but we also want deep engagement, and from that paradox comes all manner of problems of scale.

So maybe “and” is the sensible choice. But what do you do if you fail? Is it better to shoot for “and,” only to fail? If you know “and” is impossible, should you settle for an “or” choice and hope that works out better?

I think what Collins was getting at is that the pursuit of “and” — even if you know at the outset that it’s impractical — is what keeps a business sustainable. It keeps you from growing faster than your business can handle, while fending off complacency. The conflict between the two goals nourishes the endeavor by constantly forcing you to re-examine your priorities — even if you don’t always get it right.

Does your social-media marketing campaign simultaneously target new and existing customers?