Over the weekend, I created a framework to port A List of Social Media Marketing Examples into a wiki. I also invited the 166 people who've left comments on that post to become the initial collaborators in the new effort. (At least I tried to...Google Sites seems to have had a delivery problem. If you think you should have a login, try your existing email address - it may already be setup.)
One of the benefits of doing so manifests in the framework, which allows users to sort information by different categories. In an early experiment, I had created an alphabetical directory by company name, with 26 pages. Continuing with that approach would've meant replicating efforts to relist examples by channel, industry, or geography.
Lewis writes, "Don't Say ROI Unless You Mean It." Agreed. I see a lot of bloggers wading into unfamiliar territory, starting to spew opinions on measuring return on investment (ROI). It's easy for anyone with an understanding of business finance to see the shallowness of these analyses. But don't be surprised - has not knowing anything about a subject ever stopped a blogger from writing about it?
There is one correct approach to calculate ROI. The result is a financial ratio.
To get to the root of the problem, we first need to go back to school. Marketing has historically been a right-brain discipline, reflected in academic coursework. Left-brained marketers end up focusing on direct and/or B2B - staying far away from social media.
Fast forward to the top of the food chain. CMOs have a shorter tenure than other executive roles. Why? According to Spencer Stuart, the firm that publishes the most widely cited statistics on the subject, CEO and CMO agendas are misaligned. CEOs want to see business results - I'd say now more than ever. Marketers can't counter with, "well, I can't give you a number, but there sure are a lot of people talking nice about us."
Social media is easy to use. If you can type in a box and click a button, you can blog. Click the button that looks like "play" and sure enough the video starts rolling. There is no secret to using Twitter. Being a social media user meant that you were an expert...five years ago. Not today.
Do you know the story about The Emperor's New Clothes? Let's pick it up near the end:
And so the Emperor set off under the high canopy, at the head of the great procession. It was a great success. All the people standing by and at the windows cheered and cried, "Oh, how splendid are the Emperor's new clothes. What a magnificent train! How well the clothes fit!" No one dared to admit that he couldn't see anything, for who would want it to be known that he was either stupid or unfit for his post?
We know the Emperor should've just used some common sense. Calculating ROI from social media efforts is no different.
If ROI doesn't apply to social media marketing, then social media should not be used for marketing.
Since starting a list of social media marketing examples, I've seen some great work to frame content for specific uses:
It seems like a new ego trap gets sprung every month. This time, it's social media ranking tools.
What's an ego trap? In a nutshell, social technologies use game mechanics to get users hooked on participation. People often get addicted to ego-stroking system feedback, until they can temper their usage (addiction?) in terms of utility vs. serendipity. Self-promotion lies at the root of ego traps.
I don't think ego traps are inherently "bad." However, I believe that individuals should be fully aware of the implications when participating - particularly what they're trying to accomplish and why. Honesty with one's own ego is the key.
Some people are panicking after submitting their Twitter username and password to a site called Twitterank, which will "determine how worthy of a person you are in Twitterverse," while potentially stealing your password in the process. Clearly an ego trap in action. Why?
Influence: like Plinko?
I've typically thought of influence tactics as uni-directional, in a downward direction. I imagine that the traditional approach of getting a message widely disseminated consists of targeting a beacon and letting your message bounce down a pyramid of nodes, like Plinko.
A "good" beacon exhibits wide reach, in the media sense. Traditional media fit the bill quite nicely here. The better the beacon, the more widely your message will travel. The more beacons you seed, the more pyramids you'll sow.
No doubt, social media has democratized influence and both of these approaches work.
What if we turn the board upside-down?
But I wonder if there's another more surgical approach to outreach that doesn't assume a uni-directional downward message dispersion. What happens when you connect to beacons that will transmit upwards instead? Doesn't it follow that what goes up, must come down?
For example, I was recently emailed by an author who said that a certain trade publication wouldn't review a new book. I know the book has been sent out and been reviewed by some well-read bloggers, i.e. quality beacons. But wouldn't this have been more effective by targeting "influencers" who would be able to connect directly with traditional media? I know journalists participate in pyramids like everyone else - but I'm pretty sure no one wants to write a story two weeks after it's been kicked around in the blogosphere.
Maybe this is what professionals already do...
Maybe this is just PR 101 and I don't know it. I've never had any formal outreach training, which you can probably tell...so if I've offended the PR professionals who read this blog, I apologize - please enlighten me!
From the outside, it seems like today's blogger outreach should be happening at step two, preceded by a step one of more precise and surgical targeting of upward-facing influencers - and rarely, if ever make a noise within the echo chamber, let alone in public.
I've been reading the reactions to Pepsi's recent influencer outreach program, PR for The Pepsi Cooler. Have been thinking about it in the perspective of other outreach campaigns, like Nikon, Vista, HP.
"There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." - Oscar Wilde
Times are tough, for sure - but that hasn't reduced the number of gratis opportunities available to learn and network for free. I've noticed more than a few events happening this week, offering free advice and education. Thought I'd pass them along, in case you're interested.
If you have anything to add to the list, please comment below and I'll include above.
I've been thinking about how ego traps operate in social media - which could also be called hero marketing (credit Seth Godin for suggesting the term). Social media focuses on individuals. Self-promotion lies at the root of ego traps, usually inclusive of helping and promoting others.
I don't think ego traps are inherently "bad." However, I believe that individuals should be fully aware of the implications when participating in a hero marketing scheme - particularly what they're trying to accomplish and why. Honesty with one's own ego is the key.
There's some chatter going on about "50 of the most powerful and influential women in social media."
Influencer lists are ego traps in action. Why?
(To Ron Hudson's credit, he comments on the digg story, "...digg this story so that they are discovered by more people. Keep in mind, you will also be contributing to my own popularity as well. With that in mind, digg or digg not.") Other influencer lists include people on Twitter, marketing bloggers, or the Silicon Alley 100.
Influencer lists are great for discovering new voices and recognizing well-done work. Let's just be aware of and honest about what everyone seeks in the process.
Previously - Ego Trap: Industry Awards