Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Encouraging New Social Media Strategies

I read two interesting articles this week, one from Jason Falls' blog and the other from Harvard Business' Conversation Starter, both focusing on the need for more critical thinking and out of the box designing for social media strategies. Now that social media has moved out of the woodwork, companies (and marketers) are becoming increasingly more formulaic in the creation and implementation of social media campaigns. And although Facebook, Twitter, and blogs should be part of any good social media, they shouldn't be the whole strategy.

As David Armano points out in Conversation Starter: "The current state of "social media" for many businesses looks more like an episode of MacGyver than Apple's design process. Duct tape and bubble gum hold together fragile tactics such as Twitter accounts run by the summer college intern (nothing against college interns) or agency-generated Facebook fan pages that have few actual fans. This is not how any design process begins. It's not a purposeful or intentional act of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component. It's a reactive fragmented approach that may achieve short-term results for marketing but usually ends up living in isolation (a social media department)."

Jason Falls created a list of suggestions to round out a social media campaign. The highlights, paraphrased, are:

* Make a point of developing ideas that don't involve Facebook, Twitter or blogs.
* Devleop five tactics to reach consumers on forums and message boards.
*Take 10 pictures (without captions) that visualize what you’re trying to communicate, and upload them to Flickr. Look at them every day.
* Write a news report about the success of your campaign, starting with the headline that you achieved your goal and write the success story in reverse chronological order, imagining the blueprint for your success.
*Ask yourself, “What would make the boring, old clerk at the corner store tell me about this?” Find a way to weave that in to your strategy.

These suggestions apply to any type of social media campaign, but they are particular useful when creating campaigns targeting women. Women are indundated with unoriginal, formulaic, and disingenuous social media tactics from marketers and advertisers. If we are to reach women through social media, we must think outside the box to create clever campaigns that both appeal to them and engage them. If not, we run the risk of being just another advertiser pushing a product to deaf ears.

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