Article by Tim Colbert, public relations director at Shift Collaborative
While every generation thinks they invented sex, I’m starting to worry that a lot of our younger marketing and PR peers feel that they’ve invented communication. I blame social media.
Kids, I’ve got a message for you — social media is the latest but by no means the last in communications trends. From the days of the cave drawings in Lascaux, France; to Guttenberg’s printing press; to the advent of The Camel Caravan we human beings are veritable champeens at coming up with new and, one hopes, better ways to spread the good word.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the opportunities social media provides. I have helped clients launch new products, deepen customer outreach, hasten the sales cycle, and secure new business through the smart utilization of these powerful tools.
But tools they be. They are vehicles.
It’s Content that fuels and drives all the hotly sought after views, likes and click-heres. Nifty infographics, “Six Keys to Success” articles, compelling video, irresistible “‘What ‘Game of Thrones Cast Member Are You”-type questionnaires — this is content that in one form or another predates the social media era.
The feedback is faster, the measurement more refined, and the ability to engage in real-time conversations are all greatly, happily, enhanced through social media.
But it’s only a tool. One’s very presence on social media is no substitute for cleverness, story-telling, and a well thought-out and creatively executed message strategy.
Let me put it another way. The Big Brands shelled out an estimated $4 million for each 30-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl. While some of those ads generated massive social media attention (Coca-Cola) and a few may linger in the memory banks (The Cheerios Family), did any of the other ads have any real staying power? As in the kind that would justify such a significant investment?
Just because one advertises during the Super Bowl doesn’t mean that the ad will be any good, will connect with consumers, will, in a word, work. Likewise, one’s mere presence in social media channels ensures one thing and one thing only– that the Cloud just got a bit more crowded.