Stretching Out of my Comfort Zone on Social Media Programs


  STRRRREEEETTTTCH! 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul

An ongoing debate I have with our PR team revolves around the topic of "social media programs"
(I hate the use of the word "program" in this context BTW). And of
course we see a lot of companies announcing "social media consulting
services" and even entire new agencies focused on the topic of just
social media.

To me this is much like Nike and advertising. We all want to be Nike, but we are not ready to grow like Nike, which started in 1962 but did not begin advertising until 1980! From wikipedia:

By 1980, Nike had reached a 50% market share in the United States
athletic shoe market. Its growth was due largely to word of mouth
advertisement, rather than television or print adverts, which Knight
and others in the industry found distasteful.

Perhaps the biggest challenge comparing advertising and social media
is that a company CAN throw money at advertising. "Here is some money –
go buy me some ads." Perhaps they can even throw money at Public
Relations as an outside PR agency can and should come up with creative
ways to get people talking. Perhaps something as simple as a PR stunt. (or perhaps using cutesy chipmunk pictures on your blog. cough) It works.

Social Media on the other hand is different. In a draft article (activated a bit early due to the typepad.com feature I admit) we compare social media as a four step process:

  1. Consulting – defining objectives, LISTENING, measuring baseline, willingness assessments, etc.
  2. Training – knowledge transfer starts with student selection and teacher (you!) capabilities
  3. Recruiting – recruiting students with baseline knowledge is crucial to success in a complicated field
  4. Promotion – it IS ok to promote within reason and with disclosure

This article on social media
is still a draft in process. What are your thoughts? (hint – post a
comment people! I’ll love you for it. Or if this were a line in a movie
it would be called "you had me at submit")

Last point – the exception typically defines the rule. For example Citizen Agency DOES DO a good job of marketing in social media.  (it also helps that Tara and Chris are in demand public speakers, so their work is as much off line as online in many ways)
They are the exceptions in my opinion. Most new social media agencies
do not produce results that could not be achieved through other means
at a lower cost.

The photo? Just a cute chipmunk stretching. Admit it. He is tremendously cute!