"Social Media"

A colleague wrote a nice piece regarding how many marketers contract “Silverbulletitis” and social media appears to be the most recent bug caught. It’s very true, but I think there is a bigger problem, that of our tendency to see things as distinct and separate when they are never that.

How many times do I hear conversations by different groups within the same company about social media strategy, shopper marketing strategy, digital strategy, brand strategy…and so on. And as Ron points out in his blog, each is often talking about the latest “silver bullet.”  When the focus is on the silver bullet, it will inevitably fail because it is really, really hard to truly show causality for a single tactic.

True, you can show the CTR and shopping basket for an interactive banner ad, but did the ad cause that? Not often. It’s usually the culmination of a number of marketing activities that lead to the right message at the right time. Likewise, just because social media results aren’t as effective as hoped, it isn’t that social media doesn’t work. It means that the audience isn’t engaging through the tools you’ve chosen to use. 

Ron hits the nail on the head with this quote: “Social media does not make you a good marketer. Good marketers figure out to effectively use social media.”  Effectively using social media means knowing how to socialize, which has not changed since the dawn of humankind. Analog or digital, if you are boorish, boastful or self-centered, not too many people are going to want to hang around you. Instead, if you are civil, thoughtful and considerate, you are going to have a lot of “friends.” And friends will listen to you (well, good friends at least).  

Always remember, people are social creatures. They seek conversation and interaction. If you are a marketer, look across all the ways your brand touches your customers and design a socialization strategy that includes analog and digital. There is no tool, algorithm, phrase or promotion that, by itself will be the solitary answer.