How well do brands really understand social? We heard a lot of buzzwords–and a lot of uncertainty


Most CEO’s I encounter are too busy executing business plans, reviewing last week’s sales results, or dealing with personnel issues to stay on top of the latest trends in social media. For many, it’s simply unknown territory or at least one filled with uncertainty. Is there a lot of blustering, ahem, bluffing going on? I thought this article about social media “experts” and their “buzzwords” from Fast Company captured the art of social media pretense precisely.

While the FULL ARTICLE is great, this is what stood out to me most – The Experts, Translated

WHAT THEY SAID
“We like to listen.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“We hired a 24-year-old to stand in front of a firehose of complaints.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“That data isn’t available yet.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“That data is embarrassing.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“We’re inspired by Coca-Cola’s social media strategy.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“Everyone taks about Coca-Cola’s social media strategy. By referencing it, we sound informed.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“Our strategy is in line with our values.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“We talk about ourselves.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“We’re doing something very different.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“We’re doing something very different from what we were doing in 1980.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“We’re building community.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“We promoted a hashtag once, and it was a little scary but seemed to work out fine.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“We’re being authentic.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“We’re extremely on-message.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“We’re meeting customers where they’re comfortable.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“Nobody visits our corporate website.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“Social media allows us to understand the pulse of the customer.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“We all get into a room and freak out.”

WHAT THEY SAID
“This is all very new and exciting.”
WHAT THEY MEANT
“Do you have any advice? We could really use some advice.”

A version of this article appears in the September 2012 issue of Fast Company.


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