Sous-vide social media strategy is what I call the tactical grey area approach to sharing external communications using employees’ private profile instead of the official company channels. Sometimes, it is officially sanctioned, but in most cases it is the business executives turning a blind eye.
After so many years of its existence, social media is still a terra incognita for many, conceptually speaking that is. Especially to businesses which fall under heavy regulatory monitoring – financial, pharma, healthcare etc. No matter the digital marketing courses attended, the MBA and other business school classes, marketing and sales executives are struggling to figure out a way to promote their products and services on social media. So, they take the easy way out and leverage the relatively (and sometimes huge) numbers of colleagues they have int he organisation.
The basic play is the following:
– Craft a post for Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook (text+photo+link)
– Send it to as many colleagues within the organisation with specific instructions on when and how to publish on the respective personal profile
– Gather performance numbers (likes and impressions mostly) and put them into a slide or two
– Report to the higher management the great success achieved and get a tap or the back
So far, so good. Well, at least until someone starts looking into who has liked, commented or re-shared the posts post.
As one could easily expect, the majority of the immediate network of any individual consists of family, friends, schoolmates and… colleagues. The latter seems to be contributing to 85%+ of the reach and interactions of any post. Only in rare cases, mostly when the post catches the viral wave, the engagement escapes the vacuum lid and starts grabbing the attention of people outside of the immediate network of the posters.
The problem with this sous-vide social media strategy is that it builds a rather distorted image bagging up on the fact that executive management 1) has no time to check, 2) has very little understanding of social media and its potential, and 3) the regulatory authorities are not monitoring personal profiles. This approach attributes to a good image being created within the organisation, but can hardly be attributed to any lead or a sale.
Another problem (and probably an even bigger one) is that this approach is almost never a part of a well thought content strategy or a well-kept editorial calendar. Consistency in social media is not only contributing to the establishment of a brand image, but also to building a more stable lead generation pipeline.
As you can see, I am not a fan of sous-vide social media strategy or any other self-inflicted vacuum. Instead, I would suggest the use of official channels and/or micro-influencers (key opinion leaders, highly regarded technology experts, or anyone reaching to the target audience in high volumes) to carry over the external communication.
By the way, my grandmother used to make this mean sous-vide roasted chicken. Here is a recipe, should you wish to try it. I guarantee better results than cooking something in a vacuum on social media.
Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer
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