what the heck is social media anyway?
Social media is any media platform that encourages real-time conversation. Social media isn't new. Remember slide shows that family photographers used to put on? That was social media. Art openings are social media because content on walls inspires conversation among viewers.  What has changed in social media (and made it intimidating to a large part of the thinking population) is that new technologies have moved conversations to environments that never existed before. But conversation hasn't changed. Only the places where conversation takes place.

Above all, social media is social. Social norms in social media aren't so different from those In the Real World. When you go to a cocktail party to network, you don't burst into the room screaming, BUY MY PRODUCT! First, you make nice. Shake hands, ask a few questions. Then, when the time is right, you mention, by the way, you happen to have something they might be interested in. That's how it works in social media, too. Companies must resist the temptation to push themselves onto consumers. Social media is conversational marketing. Successful conversations must be two-way. If consumers are pummeled with a one-way sales pitch, they'll leave the party immediately. Wouldn't you?

giving up control doesn't mean giving up brand culture and values For most companies, the hardest part of venturing into social media is relinquishing the control they've taken for granted was theirs: control over timing, placement and specific wording of a brand message. Conversations with consumers in real-time can't be submitted to lawyers and proofreaders for approval. But that doesn't mean giving up control of your reputation. It means finding the right platforms and the right ambassadors to steer conversation in directions you want it to go. Remember, the goal isn't to get people to talk to your brands, it's to generate conversation about them. Which can result in valuable insights about your products and company that even the best planners and R&D people could never come up with.

is this the end of marketing as we've known it?
Hardly. When television came out, people were sure it was the end of movies. But TV became another part of the media mosaic. The fact that the mosaic is more complicated than ever before, doesn't mean traditional media platforms are going away. It means that a brand story must now live in myriad envirnoments. A concept that propels brand identity on television must now work in digital arenas, too.

Brand Fiction Factory can help you implement this by partnering with you to strategize holistically from the first project briefing.