In my previous life, I was an independent filmmaker. And in the life before that, I wrote. I still write, but I don’t make films anymore, mainly because of time. Making films takes every ounce of brain power, much less time, you can give it, especially if you’re doing it all by yourself. I miss that type of creating. I miss being in something that deep for that long of time.
I experience similar acts of creating with my job, and have ever since I can remember. One of the great things about marketing and communications is the creating aspect. We tell stories and solve problems and ultimately create relationships through pictures and words – the same tools filmmakers use to bring their stories to life.
I can’t help but liken social media to filmmaking. Brands can go the independent route and spend a fraction of the cost to do it themselves. Or they can go the studio route and hire “professionals” to monitor, manage, reach out to, engage, report, and analyze every aspect of their social media presence(s). Studios have the infrastructure in place to churn out film after film. Independents have themselves and a few of their friends to make a film at a time. Both can produce really good films, but the amount of time that it takes doesn’t differ between the two.
Quite often, I believe there’s a misperception that going the independent route enables organizations to get it done quicker, cheaper, and perhaps even just as effective (if not more) than hiring someone else to do it. There is no formula, regardless of who does what, for success. But, just like films, social media requires time. It’s a serious commitment and someone’s got to be down deep for an extended period of time to even put themselves in a position to succeed.
Films have an advantage over social media because their stories end. In social media, the stories grow and evolve and continue on indefinitely. They turn into relationships. And relationships, no matter what direction you go, can’t be skimped.