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February 10, 2010


Geoff Scaplehorn

Well... nothing says "individual" or "anti-corporate agenda" better than 'Pet The Puppies'.

I think you're right: this is little more than a token effort from a group that really don't understand how social media works - and, possibly, how internet culture has developed since 1995.

That said, I almost want to see how badly this turns out.


I am inclined to play devil's advocate here and claim that there is nothing wrong with seeing social media as an ad channel. As long as that's where client's expectations in terms of objectives/results are. And given the nature of what elements (relevance, trust, access, newsworthiness, etc) indicate the parameters of brand success in SM, this ad campaign is not going to be the most effective media spend.. Shame.

Robin Grant, We Are Social

Ouch. Who woke up on the wrong side of bed today?

But, as they say - True, True...

John Bell

@Tomasgonsorcik - I would argue that unless you are going to try and push engagement or earned media strategies in social nets that there are more effective "pure" ad channels than socnets. Clearly, these folks would argue they are pushing "engagement" via game apps, they just seem pretty far afield to me.
@Robin - the reason I take umbrage with this example is that I see tis type of mis-applied experimentation as a force that will turn marketers off to the true best use of social media (i.e. it won't work and they won't realize that it was misapplied...)

Scott Gould

John, I agree with you totally. I'm having to deal with this junk all day.

I've developed a large number of models and frameworks detailing strategy and integration, yet many are happy to go with the hack-job you describe above, and then get mad when it fails.

The Eurostar debacle around Christmas time proves that Social Media cannot be peice-meal - it must have deep company integration.

Jefferson B

I think it's better to try and fail than not to try at all. Having some sort of optimization and evaluation plan is helpful, but so many campaigns just fizzle out without much accountability or assistance in education and fine tuning.

It is possible that there is a larger strategy of which you're not aware. The mistake I see some (but not all) partner social media marketing companies we work with is mediocre comprehension of real business goals. So they have a strategy, per se, but sometimes it seems to have little or no relevance to business objectives, or isn't presented as such. Or it's just backed into an idea they have. Sometimes that works, often it doesn't.

Gould has a good insight. Many times the failure is in the inability of unseasoned social media experts, and I use that moniker loosely, to sell through work because they are too easily frustrated by the reality of organizational behavior. There is this "throw up my hands in disbelief" that happens when working with big brands gets mired in the usual morass of worry and control. Get over it. Your strategy should have a strategy for sell-through.

And nothing says "junior varsity" than wishing failure on others when really you have no stake in the game (hey, wish failure on your competition all you want, but not every wish has to be made in a public forum.) That's the kind of attitude that simply doesn't make you look smart, paradoxically it makes you look kind of dumb about social media. We generally wouldn't hire people when we find evidence that they wish failure upon others. And, yes, we check. Discretion counts.

Second rule is don't treat your audience like they're stupid; marketers deal with failure all the time, in many more areas than just social media. If failure kept people out of the game, there wouldn't be any advertising.

But keep trying, please. I think it's helpful discussion that helps us work with our clients to support and keep them moving forward, even if it's one small step, and a few failures, at a time. That's because we're in it for the long haul.

Martin Meyer-Gossner

Well analyzed... and agreed from a PR point of view. Still, (IMHO) not many companies have proven their ability, credibility and sustainability in social web business intelligence. The reason? The social web is too young. Most companies never had a (web) business strategy. How can they know which ingredients a social media strategy needs? Aren't we living in a trial and error era in terms of web business?

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forum widget

"don't promote new Facebook-based campaign when you only have 146 fans" - couldn't agree more. Over the last couple of years this has been the new trend and I keep seeing very small companies trying to use that "Strategy" when they have almost no FB fans to play with. Yeah, FB can be a great tool but people could learn to use it in better ways, could they not...? :)

Kolb Learning

Thanks for the article, you raise some excellent points. I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes using the word "target" to describe prospective customers. It seems to me that some companies need to realize that one of the biggest goals of a social media campaign is to build a relationship with your fans/followers/whatevers. This ends up creating brand ambassadors who will tell others about your company, essentially doing your work for you.

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