Even the Big Boys Can Be Clueless About Social

I came across this interview of two leaders from Nissan’s about their social efforts. I’m left with the impression that they don’t really know what they’re doing. Not yet, anyway. They say that ROI is being figured out, that they think they’re making a solid business case for the investment and that they’re optimistic about the value their efforts will provide in the future. Those don’t sound like reassuring, I-know-what-I’m-talking-about sound bites.

However, I’m not here to poke fun at the speakers. Far from it. We’ve all read the articles about how to measure ROI, how to justify resourcing social efforts, etc. but clearly (at least at this Fortune 500 company), it hasn’t been figured out. If you’re getting heat about social’s importance or impact, you’re in good company. The field is simply too young for normal business processes and understanding. Our tools are being created and evolved as I write and therefore don’t provide consistent nor universal guidelines, metrics, standards, approaches, … anything. All facets of business evolve over time, but not at the pace of social.

Social media is more like the early days of oil. People flooded into that industry causing chaos until enough consolidation took place to bring about order and a semblance of normalcy. We see the same taking place today in the social world as companies merge and leaders begin to rise to the surface. Time will provide us all with “normal” processes, techniques and measures even as innovation continues to push everyone and everything forward. Until then, be confident in your own approach to the field. After all, you might be the one who provides “normal.”

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