One of the challenges that bloggers face, compared to ‘real’ journalists, is that we’re not conditioned to churn out stories, no matter what. And so with a deadline looming for this post, I wondered what to write about, but nothing really grabbed my attention.

But then I got to thinking – maybe I should write something really practical, a list of things to do in social media. But of course, that’s been done a million times already. But what about the list that isn’t practical? That details all the lazy assumptions and accepted facts that people regurgitate wherever three people who know what foursquare is are gathered? If that’s the list for you, read on.

  1. Thanks to social media, user-generated content is taking over the world. No, it’s not. Because most user-generated content is rubbish and people still want to read/watch/listen to stuff that’s good and can’t survive on a cultural diet made up entirely of cats falling off of pianos.
  2. You have to have a conversation with your customers. No, you don’t. Do you talk to your mates about the toilet paper you use? No. So why on earth would you want to talk to the maker of your toilet cleaner about it? Conversations are great, but you can’t have them with just anyone, but you can enable them.
  3. Social networks are for kids. No, they’re not. Bebo was, but we all know what’s happened to that. In the US now, older demographics are the fastest growing audience on Facebook, whilst new technology is only likely to hasten this move.
  4. Advertising is dead, the future is viral. Rubbish. Ignoring the fact that you can’t make a viral (in that you can’t guarantee virality, but you can work to create and spread great content), the assumption that what most people terms as virals just magically gain audience on YouTube is patently not true. From Cadbury’s gorilla, to Compare The Market’s meerkat, most great ‘virals’ of recent times have been due to a mix of paid, owned & earned media. Ad agencies who create ads that they dump on YouTube aren’t doing you any favours.
  5. You can’t measure social media. Yes, you can, so long as you know what you’re trying to measure. If you get 50 fans on Facebook and then ask how much they’re worth, you haven’t thought about what you’re doing. If you run an integrated campaign of advertising and interaction, you can measure all sorts of stuff.
  6. Social media doesn’t work for B2B. Yes, it does, as Dell and many others are proving.
  7. I’m a social media guru. No, this is the only guru worth listening to. (Note, that isn’t an entirely serious link.)

I could have had an entire list of the meaningless phrases and buzz words that surround our nascent industry, many suggested by helpful types on Twitter. But hopefully this little list will help you out next time someone confronts you with a fact that just feels wrong.

Because, to paraphrase a popular saying, if something sounds like it stinks, it’s probably fish. Or something like that…

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social

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About The Author: is the Head of Digital for Mindshare Ireland, as well as holding a global role for the media agency as Director, Emerging Media. At Mindshare he works with both local & multinational clients, helping them to integrate on & offline, and to utilise search, social, mobile & video in their broader marketing mix.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | LinkedIn



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  • http://barrydewar.com barrydewar

    Bit of a pain in the bum having to register just so I can post on here. Not very social ;) Anyway…

    Mostly true Ciaran but I don’t agree with point no.2.

    Social media is all about conversations. It couldn’t exist without them. So, yes, you do have to be having conversations with your customers.

    Believe it or not there are people out there who have questions about toilet paper. If you are selling toilet paper then it pays to be listening out for that and engaging with them.

    While you can exist in business without talking to your customers. You can’t claim to be utilising social media if you’re not.

  • http://www.mindshareworld.com Ciarán Norris

    Hi Barry,

    Obviously I’m going to have to disagree (or I wouldn’t have put it in the list :)

    I agree that there are probably people having conversations about loo roll. But there are many more that aren’t, and yet you might want to use social platforms to engage with these potential customers. So how do you do this? You can’t start a conversation someone doesn’t want to have.

    You try to provide entertaining, interesting or useful content that is likely to spark some sort of engagement. It might enable C2C conversations, but doesn’t directly involve the brand, other than as a conduit/spark.

    I realise that saying conversation’s aren’t essential is kind of heresy in our world, and appreciate your POV on this, but do feel that we risk putting clients off trying social by insisting they have to talk to everyone, even when it’s apparent people don’t want to talk to them.

 

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