Yesterday I heard one of the DUMBEST things I’ve ever heard about social media — it showed a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the relationship between members of a social network. It also showed the expert had NO idea of how to construct a social media campaign.
I won’t mention any names, but the speaker was being interviewed on NPR about the success of social media over traditional advertising in running political campaigns. He is a professor of political science at a prestigious university and he said:
Social media is more likely to generate success in political campaigns because you OWN your network. You can say anything you want and they’ll listen.
This is a common and DANGEROUS mistake made by too many internet marketers and social media pretenders. You NEVER own your social network. Your social network is owned by those individuals who have joined your social network because you provided something valuable. They believe in your brand and want to support your brand. The minute you stop providing value to members of your social network, they’ll leave. Abuse your social network and they’ll not only leave, they may turn the whole social network against you using social media as a tool to crucify you.
Barack Obama can thank social media for putting him in the White House. Social media was used to raise funds for the campaign, mobilize workers to canvass neighborhoods or work for the campaign in other capacities, and (probably most importantly) used members of his social network to spread his message through their social networks. This is how you make social media work for you. And social media is powerful — it took a little known senator and get him elected to the presidency.
Keys to this success were not simply in his use of a variety of social media, including YouTube, Facebook, etc, but that he used them RIGHT. He recognized that his social network didn’t owe him something, he owed them something. This is the way to construct a social media campaign to support your marketing strategy.