Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Flixster, Flicker,Foursquare…..
You probably get the point, because almost everyone is making it — social media is confusing, time consuming and hyped.
But it’s not going to go away.
I was in Ireland a few weeks ago. My work was to invite innovation to the client’s social media space and help to build a strategy for the future. The foundation of what they needed was content marketing.
As I went through a series of facilitation meetings, it struck me that we need to start talking about engagement — and I mean real engagement. You see, as a marketer, I talk glibly about content marketing’s place in the social environment of this generation’s technology. But it strikes me that most of us are still caught in the old paradigm — we’re just using it in digital formats.
What I mean is the advertising “push” factor.
My main goal is to get my message to you in measurable formats, ultimately selling my product/service. But social ads an interesting twist — the pull factor.
Think about the pioneers who used a crosscut saw to clear the woods to build their house. The crosscut saw requires four hands attached to two bodies. The most effective cutting technique is an even weighted system between two people. Requiring less actual muscle and more rhythm.
That’s what social media is — except the hands are changing all the time.
The pull of social media is the same as the push. Your social media team needs to engage in conversations. And that’s the risk. In the days of print ads, the process of vetting eliminated error — sure, many still snuck through the barriers, but the chances of huge errors are largely eliminated.
Not so with social — as we’ve seen in the past few weeks where there were a few stunning errors in judgement.
This makes your job harder, because you not only need to shout out to your audience — you actually need to start and maintain a conversation. That means you have to be there. It’s not just about writing 15 twitter messages and posting them at regular intervals. It’s about engaging with others in Twitter — commenting on relevant posts and adding relevant content. It’s about blogging and commenting on other people’s blogs. It’s about answering messages to your own posts, starting a real-time conversation.
And that’s where the push and pull causes tension.
Who is going to do it?
Who is going to have the content capacity to provide the flow of information?
What is their personality and their tone?
What are the metrics you are going to use to track for effectiveness?
The metrics we have used in the past are not reliable. This is not a direct response mechanism. Because followers have commented on your post doesn’t mean they are going to buy your product, engage you as a service provider or donate to your cause. You still have to nudge them from a listener to an engaged participant to a customer, client or donor.
I am currently working on a white paper with a team from the Canadian Marketing Association — we are asking a few top flight organizations these questions. I am looking forward to their answers.
It’s a tremendous time for marketers…