Yes, social media calls for “SEO, PR and content worth remembering,” as Edward wrote here yesterday. But in social media, content worth remembering may only get you to second base. And clients aren’t paying for doubles. Instead, if you really want effective marketing and ROI, social media content needs to be worthy of evangelizing. And that’s a whole different threshold.
To achieve that, you need the following.
1. Proof and evidence that you’re in it for more than a quick hit. There’s no way to accelerate this. It takes time and commitment.
2. A willingness to create good karma by giving more than you take.
3. The ability to listen. It’s an effort, but worth it. Social media is astonishingly powerful at “telling” marketers and advertisers exactly what they need to do to create content/services/products worthy of evangelism.
4. A way to be remarkable. This is achievable if you and your clients work to find the intersection between what you want to offer and what people desperately want not only to buy, but to share.
5. Transparency. You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. Try to game the system and you will get burned every time in a big, public way.
6. Trust. It’s impossible to unleash a viral or social-worthy idea and simultaneously control the means of evangelism and the nature and expression of the message. The more you try, the faster you fail. Learn to let go.
None of these are easy pills for clients – or SEO, PR or advertising agencies — to swallow if they’ve grown dependent on interruption-driven efforts. It’s why we’ve seen a whole lot of attempts at end runs produce results that range from duds to all-out PR disasters.
The Holy Grail in push media is exposure and saturation that simply requires a bank account. The Holy Grail in SM is viral distribution and, for that, you need to grab the hearts and souls of a core group of people who will push a message to critical mass. You can’t buy that; you need to build it with the six elements above.
The companies and communications firms who “get it” will invest not in domination, but in bona fide conversation. The companies that turn 50 percent of their ad budget back to their R&D in a quest to create astonishing solutions to inspire evangelizing are the companies that will find themselves in a vastly superior position. They will rise above the noise, while those who continue to throw money at SM the way they did at TV, radio and print will remain largely insignificant in the world of SM.
Does that mean SEO, PR, direct response and exposure media are done. Not at all. But, it does mean they need to learn a new approach. The question remains whether the tactics with which those agencies are familiar and comfortable will yield maximum results in social media.
What do you think?