We’ve had plenty of great analogies for what social media is “like” on the blog: it’s like a funnel, it’s like working out, and we can’t get enough reminders that brands are like a sponge. The truth is that social media is like all of these things. It’s a complex, ephemeral, absorbent, challenging medium, and analogies for explaining its importance are best done in the form of something that we’re familiar with. At least, that’s how you can pitch it to the C-Suite.
An oddly insightful way to look at investing in your social media is by doing just that: looking at investing. Oracle of Omaha and business magnate Warren Buffett recently made headlines for a complex purchase of battery company Duracell and is a go-to resource for advice on investing. While many of these pieces of advice are geared toward actual corporate investment (i.e. purchasing multi-billion dollar companies), there are plenty of ways that understanding basic investing principles can support an initiative to invest in social media. There’s a risk in both, but there’s also potential for an even greater reward:
- “Buying stock is about more than just the price. It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price”—1989 Letter to Shareholders. Think about it: would you rather have really mediocre social media for a low price, or exceptional social media for what could be more money? It’s often difficult for corporate head honchos to adjust to the bill that comes with outsourcing social media, but we already know the dangers of handing your brand over to an intern or being too attached to your own social media by doing it in-house. It is always, always worth the price to have your brand represented exceptionally, and shoddy social media done for a lower budget may as well not be done at all.
- “Time will tell. Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.” One of the biggest mistakes companies make is giving up on their social media too soon. Good returns on investment take time, and if you have a strong brand and great social media, time is on your side. On the other hand, if you’re wasting time by having poor and ineffective digital strategies (or worse, none at all!), time will only hurt you as you fall further behind where the digital world is headed.
- “You don’t have to be a genius to invest well. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the buy with 130 IQ.” You don’t have to know every single thing about social media in order to use it, which is why companies that have social media geniuses It’s difficult to be amazing at everything, but it’s possible to be an expert at something. Additionally, just because your company isn’t up to speed on every aspect of digital doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth your time to use social media. Your marketing could already be fantastic, but social media can and will still work for you.
Questions? You can find the rest of Buffett’s advice here, and it’s really valuable for everyone, from young investors to anyone working in business on any level. Give it a read; you’ll be surprised at how much investment banking relates to everything you do on a daily basis.