The tweet that took two months. For an account with only 100, maybe 200 followers at the time of publication.
That's what Business Insider reported on when they spent time inside of NYC agency Huge. They followed the content creation process from start to finish for a campaign. While it's remarkably easy to pick apart the tweet, I'll first give the social manager in the article the benefit of the doubt.
The Good (or looking at the glass half full)
The social team definitely didn't do anything spur of the moment. A very deliberate content approval process makes sure every tiny thing communicates the right thing. Between keeping up with trends constantly via social listening and collaborating as a team, they aren't doing anything halfway.
These approval processes are a fact of life for a lot of places and aren't isolated to just this one-off story.
Also, giving them the benefit of the doubt, the article also mentions a few other details that are glanced over in follow-up debates. Only 1/3 of the Twitter content goes through that extensive of a campaign planning process, the rest of it (assumedly) is more real-time in nature. So, looking at the 1/3 that goes through that much planning, the article only followed the success (or lack thereof) of one tweet. Mathematically, this reported tweet represents a very small percentage of their overall content. The other tweets could have had more success.
However, judging by the number of followers, the likelihood of that is slim.
Business Insider does paint a one-sided picture of the process. They appear to communicate that it took 45 days to make one tweet. From what I understood, it took 45 days to fully flesh out the campaign. The one tweet in question may be just one small element of a larger campaign strategy.
The article, along with the tweets that followed it, zeroed in on the number of days it took to create a poorly performing tweet. It appears that people are knocking the long process it took to get to an "eh" tweet. Very few people are knocking the strategy. If they don't have a strong online presence, the process may not be the root of their problem, it could be their strategy is out of whack. A better aligned strategy, one that helps drive a larger fan base and something that actually drives sales, may have a positive impact on their process.
Also, this is a long process for an organic tweet. If this was a promoted tweet or part of a larger paid media push, it would make a little more sense. For something that is going to disappear in a user's feed as fast as it appears, it does appear to be a huge effort with poor ROI.
Sometimes process does get in the way of progress. This could be the case here. Huge could be spending so much time and effort over-thinking one specific campaign that they're missing the big picture on why they're using Twitter in the first place (other than the fact that Twitter was sold into the client to add to the agency's revenue stream).
I'm not advocating that we do everything on social on impulse. PR crises are born out of those situations. Then again, great case studies are born out of quick responses (see: Arby's - their tweet was born from social listening first...far from impulsive).
We should be thoughtful, intentional and on brand with what we post while still remaining timely. Combining all of those elements is a huge challenge of social strategists.
The good news is that this look at Huge in Business Insider is not representative of all social media managers. That said, it is a reality for many social programs. What we're seeing at Huge is an old agency content model being applied to a new content distribution system - digital media.
For better or worse, this has a dialogue going on what social managers do all day. I think we can all agree that they do more than just post on Twitter or Facebook all day - there's a lot of planning involved.
Unfortunately, a lot of social media managers' job roles and value are going to be judged in the court of public opinion via the performance of one corporate tweet about cheese.
Kudos to Business Insider on the content. What a better way to get content shared online by social media influencers than to do a piece on an agency social media manager.