Is this Social Media “success story” silly? Or is that just my opinion?

Filed in LinkedIn , Sharisax Is Out There 7 comments

I participated in a Social Business conference here in the North Bay area of San Francisco, which was on the whole a great experience; however, one particular roundtable discussion left me “unimpressed” — if not downright exasperated.

This technology company has had a pretty lackluster, stodgy reputation, so their “objective” was to become cool and hip. As a stockholder — in addition to being a social media strategist — I am disappointed to hear that this i.e., being cool and hip was the Big Goal.

They hired a college intern and asked him to come up with an idea, so he suggested and implemented a series of videos that went “viral” — and now the company is so happy with itself.

I asked if the company had measured any ROI from this campaign. With what little response I received, I take it there was nothing set up to evaluate.

The company “happiness” seemed to come from the fact that they had videos that went viral.

To my mind this is just plain silly.

*   *   *

So I put the situation out there in several of my LinkedIn groups, and here were the responses:

Victoria Scott • I call this type of happiness “Ego Wallpaper” – makes the owners feel good, they can line the walls with numbers and there are no apparent hard results. Maybe it’ll turn into money eventually – any examples of success beyond the usual gratefully received!

Paul Violet • Seems we suffer from the same delusions on the east side of the great divide. Jumping on a bandwagon is not a recipe for success.

Louise Findlay-Wilson • Ego wallpaper is a great phrases. The example breaks all the rules of sound PR & marketing. Set some objectives, agree measures that truly tell you whether you’re getting closer to the objectives, and then measure, measure, measure. I can’t imagine why anyone would be happy to do less than this!

Alex Rodriguez • Well maybe not so much.
Viral means to me over one million in video views, and with views comes exposure which may lead to interest, now here is where the sales funnel begins from the million views what actions were created?
Knowing this is where we separate those arm chair specialist from the real ones.
Exposure=Traffic=Actions= ROI

Mark Longbottom • Just being happy at going viral smacks of not understanding why they are doing it other than a pat on the back. Also any agency suggesting they make viral campaigns should also be steared clear of, interesting and entertaining content can only be made viral by the audience. Numbers are a side issue based on the focus of the audience and customer base targeted by the orgainsation or busienss. They should definately be listening and monitoring activity around what they are doig to be deliver a more effective and continuous service.

By getting people to view the video and then share this with their networks there should be a call to action not a sales pitch but simply a way to engage and build a relatonship. Empowering them to tell more of their networks about what they have viewed, as well as giving you contact details to keep them informed of future information, products and services which they maybe interested in. Building a trusted and loyal following will maximise the ROI naturally.

What do you think?

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   28 October 2010
Tags : , , ,
Oct 28, 2010
4:20 am

This is like a video I saw that was good but it was promoting a website. What was missing? Yeah, the address of the website! always go repetitive in videos and repeat the message, like a priest in a pulpit repeating his message every week or a TV advert that comes on ever hour on the hour. Repetition is a psychological as well as a rhetorical device. I use it in writing but certainly if you’re making a video, you strive to get the message across. I had a message this morning that someone appears not to like my videos; we can’t please everyone, but at least it was viewed!

Author Oct 28, 2010
9:07 am

help me out, Mike. I’m not sure what the “antecedent” was, i.e., “This” is like a video . . . What exactly did you refer to with the word “this”? I hope you didn’t want me to tell you the video!!!

Oct 29, 2010
4:32 pm

It’s an interesting point you make. I call it “vanity” marketing, which may work for the big companies, the Coca Colas and Apples that want to be highly visible. For the “little” people, targeted marketing with specific results and ROI makes much more sense, at least for me and my work with couples and singles and their relationship issues.
Thanks for a great post,

Nov 3, 2010
11:52 pm

I have been guilty of getting a large amount of traffic by writing over 100 articles for However, although I did have my website and contact information listed, I did not have opt in boxes on any of my sites – so I did not capitalize on over 20,000 views of my articles. It felt good to see those numbers and it did lead to more exposure for my local counseling business so it had some value, but not as much as if I had put the other marketing pieces into place.

Author Nov 4, 2010
1:04 pm

Great advice, Erica. Which “marketing pieces” will you start with?

Nov 6, 2010
9:26 am

Hi Shari,
The role of a marketer, IMHO, is to generate more sales, capture more market share, make the cash register go “kaching.” I’ve worked for, and with, one or two companies where that goal was not institutionalized by the marketing department. The reasons can be many and varied, but one of the biggest that you suggest with your example is lack of the right goals and metrics to define success. Another is a belief that social media is a guaranteed way to succeed. Social media is but one part of a larger collection of marketing activities that make a business or company successful.

I just saw a tweet from @jowyang that captures this nicely: “More Fans or Followers is not a *Business* Objective; what you do with them is.”

Author Nov 6, 2010
12:59 pm

Your second observation on the “belief that social media is a guaranteed way to succeed” is right inline with my most recent post: Social Media Marketing is not an automatic WIN.

Ditto to Owyang’s advice you point to.

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