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The Motorway, Autobahn or Interstate are the arteries of a complex transport system in connecting town, villages, cities and even countries in facilitating the logistical movement of goods and service from individuals, businesses and even governments.

Replace the motorway, autobahn or interstate with social media and the connection is obvious, however what isn’t obvious is which lane individuals, businesses or even governments should be travelling in…

The Fast Lane – As with a motorway this is the fastest route to your final destination but also the most dangerous! A social media strategy which becomes uncontrollable as a result of heavy initial investment with a sporadic shotgun approach can become like a car out of control and careering into the central reservation!

The Slow Lane – OK, so your going to reach your final destination safely but the chances are your competitors are going to get their before you! Although your steady approach ensure you turn up your going to be late and ultimately the opportunity to stake your claim to a new social platform has passed you by!

The Hard Shoulder – This really represents those business, individuals and governments who are happy to watch the traffic pass them by! Ultimately no one wants to be in the hard shoulder but without a mechanic its very hard to get your vehicle moving.

For those savvy bloggers you will notice that I have left out the Middle Lane? Is this the holy grail of the social marketing motorway or just a sure fire way to get to your destination on time and in an safe manner? Some would argue that this has to be the best way to travel on the social motorway but unless your the first person on the motorway the chances are your going to be in a long line of like minded strategically thinking businesses, individuals and governments…

So which is the perfect lane! It’s a question which I find myself asking everyday and am still no clearer to the answer…! Like a motorway my thoughts are that you need to be flexible enough to be able to change lanes at any point. When you need to accelerate in to the fast lane make sure you mirror signal and manoeuvre and if your vehicle begins to over heat then make sure you slow down before you end up in the hard shoulder!

Ultimately as an individual, business or government you need to be comfortable with the road conditions and your own ability to control your vehicle – employing a mechanic or digital agency is great way to get started but like with any mechanic you don’t want to be ripped off and like with any digital agency you don’t want to get caught drink driving by the police – YOUR BOSS!

About the author:

Chris Hayler is the Commercial Manager at West Ham United.  He first started working at Virgin Atlantic when Desktop Alerts were all the rage. First launched by the BBC – Virgin Atlantic quickly adopted this new technology, which delivered real time instant messaging. The service quite literally took off from launch and delivered fantastic results.

Since working at Virgin Atlantic he has now moved into the sporting industry first working at Portsmouth Football Club and now at West Ham United. Needless to say the power of social networks has moved on massively and he now embraces social media on a daily bases! Keeping on top of developing apps and interactive facebook games is a job in itself but where will this phenomenon stop and on what level should businesses embrace it?

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