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Are you a social media expert

May 26, 2009

I’ve written before that social media isn’t magic. I’ve also written that it’s marketing. So this article, called “Beware the Social Media Charlatans” is a timely article.

The social media stars, who talk of the transformative power of Twitter and follow 5,000 people and are followed by 10,000 scare me. They scare me because measuring Twitter by followers is like measuring a website through hits.

It’s the wrong metric.

As i sat and thought about social media, I’m convinced that it’s actually a test of marketing. If the people doing the so-called traditional marketing (TV, print, radio, etc) have been doing a good job, then the brand will be ‘popular’. It won’t be so popular that it will be transformative, but I can tell you from experience that people care. We had a person e-mail us and say:

“this is probably the greatest day of my life. it’s advertising genius really. I’ve never felt closer to a company in all my life.”

How did we get such praise? We gave away a $5 gift card on Twitter.

Kool-Aid Logo
Image via Wikipedia

But take a step back for a minute. This fan wasn’t created on Twitter. The product, and the marketing behind the product, created this loyalty. (That’s my opinion, and if you have a better one, I’ll be happy to listen to it. But if you think Twitter created this loyalty, then you’ve drank far too much Kool-Aid and you should drink some water to wash it out.)

Twitter helped him hook up with the brand in a way that he’s never been able to before. But he’s not a new customer. And yes, there’s value in turning your best fans into advocates for the brand. But don’t go thinking that it’s the be all and end all.

In fact, to really ‘work’, social media (or earned media) needs to work with paid media. You know, the stuff that gets the lion’s share of the marketing budget now.

Anyway, I linked to the article above because I think there’s a simple rule about social media experts: if they don’t have a marketing background, run. If they do, ask them to relate some of the things they’ve don’t that are non-social media. If they talk about the transformative power of billboards then keep running.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2009 2:33 pm

    reading your post and vigorously agreeing – on the heels of today’s discussion re: the “end” of the corporate Web site. When did everything HAVE to be social?! If a brand wants to engage online, it’s great there are now plenty of tools that enable that. But I’d be wary of anyone suggestion it’s a mandate.

  2. May 26, 2009 7:00 pm

    “transformative power of billboards” that wasn’t a call out to @aplusk?

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