Social. It’s a great thing. Social is a fantastic approach to marketing. I mean who doesn’t want the world spreading their message for them or have fans excited to see their content everyday! As we build our marketing plans and briefs we’ve all heard these: ‘make something social’, ‘socialize your content’, be ‘social by design’. But what is really important is for people to realize Facebook Pages, Google+ pages and Twitter handles are not ‘social marketing’, they are destinations and locations to activate within. You must build a social strategy, choose the appropriate destinations and activations and answer the hard questions:
‘why would my consumers WANT to socialize with me or with my content’? ‘Who am I (as a brand) in a list of friends?’ What am I bringing to the table, will anyone care? Why am I on these sites?
Have you ever heard of or talked about Apple’s famous 1982 commercial? Pre-YouTube, Pre-Facebook, Pre-Twitter! That ad was ‘viral’ and ‘social’. I could argue many other marketing efforts and content [M*A*S*H series finale, Roots (1&2)] were also ‘social’. People discussed them, debated them, shared their feelings, told people to watch it, etc. What Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc have done is amplified the reach of socially viable content, conversations and promotions and enabled EASY mass sharing. These sites have broken down geographic boundaries and opened floodgates for communicating the most mundane to the most interesting of information.
Social platforms give everyone the ability to amplify and extend the potential of our natural human behavior. The only other technological advancement that put more power in the consumers hand was the phone and then cell phone. All other platforms laid heavily in the hands of marketers and business (TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Billboards). There was no massive platform for consumer to share across till now, which is powerful, but remember it’s not you that the consumer is socializing, it’s themselves. Consumers have always ‘shared’ and ‘socialized’, now it’s on a mass scale and measurable. Brands and media used to have the loudest voices and largest reach because they controlled the platforms/media. Now, the consumer does.
In today’s world your content has to be pretty darn incredible to reach the same levels as M*A*S*H and 1982 due to the amount of clutter and noise out there. But I could also argue that the cream rises to the top and with today’s amplified and empowered social consumer today, your content has an even bigger shot of being socialized around the web – if it’s good or really bad.
There are definitely social executions, tactics and integrations we all must consider in our marketing plans/mixes. Social promotions and campaigns are important and serve a great purpose in today’s landscape. With the amount of tools at our disposal today there are numerous ways to be ‘social’ just make sure you’re considering your strategy, content and brand voice when developing them.
Remember to Inspire, Empower, Enable.
- Inspire with great content and material.
- Empower your target and encourage their input.
- Enable them to share and spread.
Here’s a great post from Ad Freak outlining some of the most ‘shared’ and ‘social’ advertisements of the year – great inspiration and examples of the variety of content that can be ‘socialized’ (Taxidermy anyone???) 20 most Shared Ads 2011