Last week I posted Marketing interruption still trumps engagement, really? I quoted global brand strategist Jonathan Salem Baskin’s Advertising Age blog where he presents his case that brands have always had it correct:
Brands always had conversations with consumers, whether via broadcast TV or chiseled on clay tablets. The rules have also been consistent over time: Tell the truth and tell it with relevance, immediacy and meaning. That’s why ads that interrupted with sales messages worked so effectively for so long; making the content worth consumers’ time meant that brands could risk asking for the sale. It’s not a new idea, and today’s consumers aren’t a new breed of human being. Yet we’ve assumed that the old rules no longer apply. Delivering engagement and its metrics of time spent and forwards clicked trumps the historic measures of interruption, all of which got to a sales result pretty quickly.
I’d choose effective interruption over pointless engagement anytime. Why wouldn’t you?
I did not see Mr. Baskin made a case and this week still do not see Mr. Baskin has come close to make his case.
Today I came across a post that makes a nice bookend: Why Do So Many Companies Suck at Social Media? Lee Oden, the writer, presents a nice view.
To me, the issue isn’t about sucking at social media, it’s about failing. Companies should not fear taking risks and trying new, creative ways to connect with their customers. Some of those efforts will succeed and many will suck. Failing at social media is more about choosing NOT to:
- Listen – Social media monitoring.
- Create – Content that customers actually want.
- Engage – There is no substitute for direct participation with customers in social communities.
- Be open – Stop deciding what’s best for your customer and be open to letting them show you how they’d like to engage.
- Be brave – Show leadership in your social participation.
- Test – Moving corporate mountains is tough, so try proof of concept campaigns, run business case examples and get your feet wet.
- Change – Organizations can only be social if leadership buys-in and commitment to change is made.
- Make money – Don’t be fooled into thinking social media is all about kumbaya with customers. It’s about creating opportunities to connect and influence sales: indirectly and in some cases, directly.
Mr. Oden ends his post by mentioning a time when he sucked at social media and invites the reader to share moments they may have sucked:
Have you “sucked” at social media? What did you learn from it? How have you turned your social media failures into successes?
The takeaway in social media: don’t be afraid to suck.
That lesson, in itself, may not resonate with multi-billion dollar brands and multi-million dollar agency accounts.
It’s time to move past debates about traditional media co-existing with social media. Madison Avenue should see social media as a wonderful, if not disruptive, gift. It should run hard to catch up with the consumer, let go of legacy business models and build something better.
This above quote comes from Hank Wasiak’s post last month, How Social Media Radically Altered Advertising. His post is a great buffer between Mr. Baskin’s rather weak platform and Mr. Oden’s call to “suck”.
Mr. Wasiak offers great perspective from an advertising career that began in 1965 and includes a gang of Emmy’s. Mr. Wasiak, like I did in Communication in the age of saturation, mentions Brian Solis’ conversation prism as great conversation atlas.
So, 3 keys I takeaway from these 3 posts and my experience, thus far:
- embrace the opportunity to suck at social media;
- learn the art of conversation; and
- don’t place your bets on dinosaurs (Madison Avenue)
No doubt I got some things wrong, or left out some important ideas. Please let me know what you think and suggestions you have for me to add value.
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