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How to present social media

October 4, 2008

Back in the copywriter days, I worked at a multinational ad agency with lots of letters. It doesn’t matter which one, because in these shops that have more than a hundred people, the idea is to always be pitching. I heard our Chairman and CEO say that JWT (not the one I worked at) wins only 3 out of 10 of the pitches they engage in.

A baseball pitcher does positive work on the b...

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Baseball is like that, since success is measured by how little one fails. An speaking of baseball, lets talk about the pitch before we get into presentations.

Anyway, the prevailing wisdom of the agency I worked with was this: a pitch is 30% creative, 30% strategy and 30% presentation. For those math people out there, the remaining 10% was gut, and was dictated by the leaders of the pitch.

This was my second job, so I was startled that this big agency had the feeling that 30% of the pitch rested on the presentation. But the more i stuck around in the ad biz, the more I thought about the wisdom of this thinking.

And it’s helped me as I mold into the social media guy. Because social media is harder to present than a regular campaign. A big part of selling people on this is the presentation.

The obvious difference is that if you’re presenting an idea that incorporates blogs, a Twitter feed, a YouTube channel, or whatever, the first step is explaining the tool.

And that can bog down the presentation. So instead, present quick and dirty little examples that you call thought leaders, and/or inspirations. They aren’t meant to be copied, only meant to be used as inspiration.

Another important thing to remember is that for the next little while, people will still think of these tools as the stomping grounds of teenagers. Facebook is for 17 year olds, MySpace for 13 year olds, and Twitter sounds mental.

To make it feel like marketing, have a brief. Without one, the presentation feels like an exploration, and not a serious attempt to get into social media.

Oh, and talk about how it will all fit into the regular marketing, because everyone at the table will feel better about having to consider social media because these tough financial times.

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