Using social media channels can be the promised-land for savvy marketers, with visions of virally-propagated sugar plumbs dancing through their heads. The reality of social media marketing is that while everyone is clamoring to “go viral” since that seems to be the buzz word, there is no chance that is going to happen unless you give people something to talk about.
Joe Hall nailed this concept in his recent post that referenced Bonnie Raitt, and he also has some great examples of how you can get people talking. This is an important step – mainly because you can be extremely savvy about how to use social media tools, but if you don’t have information that is going to get people talking, I think you’re ultimately going to end up frustrated and feeling like a failure. Just because all these shiny new toys in the marketing arsenal have incredible reach with little or no cost, does not mean that you can take the marketing out of the equation.
We are currently working on a couple of Facebook applications to help spread the word for clients, but what word are we going to spread? Without something worth talking about- why would we even bother to build something like that? The simple answer is: we wouldn’t.
Make sure you can “give them something to talk about” before you go jumping into social media. In my most recent presentations on creating WOW (Word of Web) using Social Media, I always talk about this:
If you can’t speak to me with conviction about what you do, why you do, and why I should want to be involved (or buy your product, or work with your firm); then you have no business trying to do that using social media tools! Online marketing is moving at an increasing pace to a completely online conversation, so if you can’t convince me in a face-to-face conversation that I should work with you, how do you expect to be able to do that online? The same old marketing/advertising tactics are not going to prove very effective. I don’t think you have to go so far as Yoda says and “unlearn what you have learned,” but I do think that a different mindset must be applied.
Some Great Reading about Social Media and measurement: