Conversation vs. Publication
Mar 31, 2010
On the topic of “the repeat visitor,” Jason Falls reports this:
“A recent Corporate Blogging and Social Media study found that upwards of 80% of all blog traffic comes from first time visitors. Whether your blogging strategy is for social media marketing or search, the numbers don’t lie… your visitors are brand new and, according to the survey, find you through search.”*
Those numbers validate the argument that “social media isn’t conversation, it’s publication” made by Joel Postman, and added to by Tom Foremski. And together, the premise that marketers should stop thinking about social media strategies in a vacuum, and start thinking of them as a part of a larger content strategy, is solidified
We need to be clear about what social media can do when it comes to marketing. It’s great for listening. It’s good for SEO. It’s decent at directly driving traffic to content. It’s not really so good at brand-initiated, purchase-influencing conversation. (Does that really exist anyway?) On the other hand, it is good for facilitating fan-initiated conversation about you. But you’re not necessarily invited to that. And it might not all be friendly conversation.
Put simply: Social Media is not the engagement panacea some thought it would be.
I think once social media is approached with that understanding it can become an effective channel — another means of promoting content… or publications… or social objects. Any of those terms, among others, will work. But the focus has to be on getting your engaging content found, and not on the attempt to start a conversation.
Will this change the way you’re currently approaching social media? Do you still think “brand engagement” is just around bend, in the next-to-be-a-craze social network? Or are you actually achieving engagement (with measurable results) just by “being there?” Please feel free to add to the conversation… er, content… here!
*I’ll be listening intently to this webinar on the subject tomorrow. I want to hear more about the study which supports something I’ve tracked personally when helping clients — especially B2B clients — get started with blogging, Twitter and other social media tactics. And I’m sure I’ll have more to say on the topic afterward (I only hope what I come up with us remotely insightful).
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline. Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, GE and National Instruments.