Text on Fire does not "do" social media

As I mentioned in my first blog post on this new domain, I’ve been away for a while. And by “away” I mean “the digital marketing corner of the internet,” and by “a while” I mean SEVEN YEARS. Once I came out of that Space Mountain-like roller coaster of an accidental life chapter, to say that I was reluctant to return to the world of digital would be an understatement. By its very nature, technology and the way we communicate is changing so quickly now it’s overwhelming, if not impossible, to keep up. 

So, I thought I should start poking around some of my “old haunts” — blogs and communities of others in the field of whom I highly respected, to see what they’ve been up to. What the “latest” was. I admit that in my seven-year absence, I had not paid much attention at all. I knew there were a lot of new tools/platforms that I wasn’t familiar with (Snapchat, anyone?) that had come to the forefront, some other tools of which I was an “early adopter” and had abandoned a few years ago (Twitter) had become mainstream, and others had disappeared. 

As I found myself perusing these former digital “stomping grounds” and revisiting old colleagues on the web, one thing stood out — I didn’t miss a damned thing.

The same people were spouting out the same ideas they were not just seven years ago, but a decade ago. The same ideas, being rehashed/recycled over and over again, but in different packaging.

Of course they were. Why? Because while technology and tools may change, the basic underlying principles of marketing and public relations do not. 

I was recently catching up with an old “digital colleague,” Kiki L’Italien, after an Association Chat about this. She agreed with me, but pointed out:

“The underlying lessons are the same, but the channels and algorithms have changed a lot. . . [there is] too much stuff to keep up with! I used to teach . . . online courses for Facebook marketing and had to redo units twice before the last course launched because FB made significant changes overnight.”

Kiki L’Italien

I concede that much; there is too much stuff to keep up with. Especially when you have clients who turn to you to keep up with the latest platforms and how they can use them.

But overall, tools don’t matter. They’re a means to an end.

Seven years ago (earlier, if we’re being honest), when I was ears deep in this kind of thing, it was all about figuring out your “Twitter strategy” or your “Facebook strategy.” Now it’s all about your “Instagram strategy.” While it’s true that there is more than one way to skin a cat, the social media/digital marketing bubble online, after all this time, is still focused much more on each new cat. 

Let’s think about this in terms of sports.

The Detroit Lions (bless their hearts), despite being a professional team, are one of the worst teams in football (if not the worst). Say you give them all new equipment — jerseys, cleats, pads, and oh yeah, a new stadium (this all happened) — guess what? They’re still the Detroit Lions, and they’ll never win the Super Bowl, let alone get there. But then there’s the New England Patriots. The Patriots don’t need all new duds — even if they played in ratty old jerseys and 10-year-old cleats — they’d still be a winning team. You can make all the jokes about deflated footballs you want, but the Pats have now won six Super Bowls since 2002.

Football depends on skills of the players, yes, but it’s mostly about game strategy as a whole. Depending on how the game goes, plays and tactics may change, but the overall game is the same. A football team’s equipment only matters to a point. 

If a person or a company marketed themselves solely on “social media strategy,” they’re basically marketing themselves as the equivalent of the equipment manager for the Detroit Lions.

Don’t get me wrong — social media can be an important part of a healthy communication strategy. But it can not, and should not, be solely relied upon. It is important to know that “social media” is not a verb, but rather an ever-changing collection of tools. Tools are not strategy. Tools aren’t even tactics, they’re a means to deliver them. A true strategist knows the difference. If a person or a company marketed themselves solely on “social media strategy,” they’re basically marketing themselves as the equivalent of the equipment manager for the Detroit Lions.

That is why Text on Fire™ doesn’t “do social media.” Been there, done that — got plenty of redundant conference lanyards. What we do do is help small businesses, agencies, associations, and even large corporations develop and deliver the right messages to the right people, the right way. Those ways may include “social media,” but not exclusively. Everything is contingent on a company and its overall goals. Our goal is to assist those businesses by strategic consulting, and creating enticing content that engages the customer, converts to sales, and leaves a lasting impression. 

Stacy Lukasavitz Steele, Principal of Text on Fire Communications™

Stacy Lukasavitz Steele is the multi-disciplined writer behind Text on Fire Communications™. Formerly known online as “that damned redhead,” this seasoned digital strategist and analyst has been setting fire to the interwebs for over 20 years in one capacity or another. She takes the English language much more seriously than she takes herself, but must warn you that the stereotypes about redheads are true. She is passionate about helping brands find their voice and delivering the right messages to the right people. If you’re a cool company looking for some hot copy, you’re in the right place. Drop her a line via the contact form