Double Tall Skinny Non Dairy Social Media To Go Please

Fri 10 July 2009 13:20, Lisa D Myers

Double Tall Skinny Non Dairy Social Media To Go Please

I’m sitting in Starbucks, my Blackberry stuffed at the bottom of my enormous handbag so I don’t feel tempted to have a quick look. I usually go to a cafe where they haven’t got 'free wifi' to write a blogpost, as I simply get too distracted in the office. Phone calls, emails from clients, ooo just need to read this blogpost, answer this tweet. My life is full of interaction in every shape and form, my job demands it, I need to know what’s going on. But when I write I need to cut it all off, not that my writing is ‘journalist class’ and I need silence to get my creativity out, I’m in Starbucks for goodness sake, couldn’t get more noisy if you tried.

Looking around I pretty much see people from every walks of life; babies, mothers, teenagers (with weird neon painting on their faces, god knows what that’s about), a workman in dirty trousers, a business man and in the corner two “ladies that lunches” both with Prada bags. Starbucks pretty much represents the “main stream”, not in a negative way, to me “main stream” simply means something or someone that appeals to people from all walks of life. So how did Starbucks get so massive, why do people like it so much? Sipping my coffee I’m thinking it can’t possibly be because of the coffee, Costa does far superior coffee!  I personally think the success of the massive brand that Starbucks has become is mostly due to; positive association, a brand built with people in mind (And on a different note, timing probably had a lot to do with their success, if you haven’t read “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell I recommend it). But my point isn’t to analyse Starbucks success, although I realise my initial rambling might suggest just that. What I am interested in is how you target the “main stream”, how you reach the Starbucks audience, and more specifically how you can do that online.


One of my specialities is Social Media, and it fascinates and frustrates me how people interpret the word “social media” so differently. So I've decided to write about what it is and what it means to me (note I didn’t say ‘what I think it is’ as I don’t believe you can say someone is right or wrong on this, not even Cornwall SEO). To me Social Media isn’t about social media networks, whether you have set up a Facebook profile and twitter account for your client. These are just TOOLS, the social media platforms and networks are just the tools you use to make social media easier, make the word spread faster.

In fact; I would go as far as to say that saying you are doing social media by simply just being signed up to all these social channels, is just like saying you are building a house by just holding the hammer! Without the architects plan, the material and the workmen.

I think you will be shocked at how many people think that’s how you do social media, I’m not saying they are stupid (although it might seem so, I’m quite direct), they simply just don’t understand it, yet.  I’ve been speaking at both SES and SMX about Social Media for the last 2 years, and I believe we as social media specialists, have to change the way sessions about social media is being held, and how we speak about it.  That’s the first step. It frustrates me that 90% of Social Media panellists speak on projects they have NOT worked on, how on earth can they teach the audience about social media if they didn’t have anything to do with the project they are speaking about. In fact I think this is partly the reason why people misunderstand what social media is about.

After several panellist at a conference speak about “How Barack Obama used social media in his presidential campaign”. Pesenting slide after slide of; how many twitter followers he got, how many views on YouTube he had and so on, no wonder the audience is making “plan on stupid”; signing up to twitter and waiting for the masses to come. Signing up to Twitter was NOT the success behind Obamas campaign, it was a tool to reach people, but in Obamas case the “idea”, the social media plan, was simply using these channels. The genius about it was that no one had done this before him, well at least not to the degree he did. That’s why it spread so fast, he was doing something new to reach his audience, and yes his Online PR strategists were very clever about growing the 'followings' on these channels, and they worked hard on updating twitter, making videos etc. That was the real work. BUT showing examples like this I believe is pulling the wool over people’s eyes; they need to know how to apply social media. Besides don’t you think it’s a bit odd that people present “case studies” that neither they nor their companies had done? It’s a bit like me speaking on SEO and giving a case study that belongs to Dave Naylor, look how successful SEO can be. Ha, I don't think so. People would never accept that, and rightly so.  We have to make sure we don’t wrongly educate people, if you haven’t at least seen the social media plan for Barak Obama don’t speak about it, maybe show one slide if it was really impressive but don’t let it be your presentation.

Having got that off my chest I can hear you all screaming; ok wise ass, get to the point, what do you believe social media is? (damn, just checked my Blackberry, why can’t I go a whole hour without checking it?) First of all I think Social Media should be a part of an overall Online PR strategy, some might argue that Social Media and Online PR is the same thing, but for ease, I always refer to Online PR as the umbrella term that covers everything. (although it’s a bit like SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which is really an umbrella term for both SEO & PPC but people quite often associate it with PPC only)

This is my map of what goes within a Online PR strategy:



I would include the following in most Online PR strategies:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Content distribution and syndication
  • Online Reputation Management
When it comes to objectives I think every Online PR and Social Media campaign should include at least 2, or all of these objectives:

  • Communication
  • Branding/Awareness
  • Traffic generation
  • Link generation
One of the reasons I think SEO and Social Media goes so well together, and why people doing SEO quite often venture into Social Media is because of the objectives being so similar, and how it compliments each other. I believe it’s big mistake not to consider SEO when doing Social Media, bordering on stupid in fact, I have seen several examples of fantastic Social Media campaigns that generated thousands of links but where the campaign was not on the company’s main domain or they simply hadn’t bothered doing the on page SEO.

But before you even start thinking about channels to utilise and the objectives there is one vital question you need to ask yourself;  Who are you targeting? Knowing your audience should be the very first port of call in any online pr and social media campaign, do thorough research. If you are working with a client they will have a very specific idea of who they are targeting, but it might be that they should be broadening their horizon, so to speak. Use of keyword tools you use for SEO can be useful, as well demographic statistics and so on.

Secondly, and very imperative for any marketing campaign, but maybe even more so when doing online pr and social media marketing; you need everyone to be working together. Typically there are several departments, even agencies working together on big social media campaigns, if they don’t collaborate. Having worked at an Integrated Marketing agency before, I’ve seen my fair share of creatives or designs that just can’t be implemented, or flash programming that just won’t get you the link juice and so on. Be friends, you are all working towards the same objectives, if all the teams work together you can ACTUALLY make something pretty awesome.


And lastly , and most importantly:  Good creative, an edge! All the digging, sphinning, buzz building, seeding and content distribution in the world won’t give you a successful campaign if the idea is rubbish. And when I say successful, I mean actual brand reach, so no dirty spamming where you got loads of traffic to your clients site, but it was all your 100,000 friends from a War of the Worldcraft website.

Once you can say you know who you are targeting (your audience), you know what your objectives are, what Online PR channels you want to utilise, you have a plan (including who’s doing what) and you most certainly have an edge, an idea that will make your company or client stand out; then and only then  can you start creating social networking groups, twitter profile and so on.

And it doesn’t need to be that complicated, when I say a good creative or an edge, it doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel, but it helps ;) No seriously, it doesn’t need to be the new Meerkat website, for one of my clients we recently carried out a online pr/social media campaign where the idea was simply giving away concert tickets and a hotel package, there wasn’t a ‘play on word’ Meerkat vs Market slogan in sight. And the campaign was very successful, it generated a big boost in traffic, a good number of new links (we are also doing SEO for the same client) and loads of brand awareness.

Lastly, let me wrap up by saying if you are wanting to do social media whether for your own company or for a client; be serious about it, don’t kind of possibly do it. Like the great Yoda says: “Do or do not, there is no try!”

Phew I’ve done my blogpost, it’s not that bad, still in Starbucks, I might have another coffee – I’ll have this one to go. Back to my digital bubble.


  • Comments (16)
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Comments (16)


  • Love the way you manage to sneak in so many analogies (which strangely make sense) whilst making so many valid points.

    Completely agree with the point that social networking sites are merely tools and the most important factor to a good social media campaign is the content and idea. After all, this is what will make people who encounter it – spread it – the foundations of WORD OF MOUTH.

    Vr 10 jul 2009, 15:41

  • The fifth to last paragraph is pure gold Lisa, an excellent post and as the previous commenter mentioned - you've also got some great analogies here too.

    Vr 10 jul 2009, 16:13

  • @Eric Lander: thank you very much, I'm a big fan of analogies. I got tons of them :) So weird you just commented as I was literally just looking at your blog about 2 min ago, someone directed me to it from Twitter.

    @Sam: ha! You should be used to the endless analogies young skywalker.

    Vr 10 jul 2009, 16:28

  • Nice post Lisa, will check out the book.

    Also some great advice I will use when I get started doing social media for clients.

    Vr 10 jul 2009, 16:55

  • Great post Lisa, especially like the reference to good online PR. Personally I think many people merely look at Online PR as merely a case of distributing press releases, without any consideration of either awareness or engagement, something which will often determinethe success of Online PR.

    Zo 12 jul 2009, 21:28

  • So, if I understand you correctly, if I sign up to twitter my business will grow at a mind boggling rate because of my awesome social media skills? ;)

    Ma 13 jul 2009, 20:47

  • @Pete thanks, yes I agree Online PR is not just about distributing Press releases, far from it :)

    @Noah: yep that's right:) if you want thousands of visitors just get a twitter account and they will come *sarcasm* :)

    Di 14 jul 2009, 14:42

  • Great post, Lisa!

    It is good to hear that there are others in the Social Media World, who actually understand that SM is more than creating a Facebook Page and a Twitter Account.

    I do so absolutely agree with you that it's the idea that counts, the rest is just tools.

    One of the biggest problems I see is that most clients don't understand that the personal interaction is IMHO the most important part in SM. The "corporate company" fades slightly to the background, and the person or representative becomes centric.

    Wo 15 jul 2009, 16:55

  • A very interesting post, Lisa, and very useful points.

    A couple of other suggestions I would make are:

    1) know what a successful campaign/strategy looks like before you start. You'll need to make your Objectives measurable to do this. It's the old 'if you don't know where you going, how will you know when you've got there' situation

    2) establish guidelines for anyone in your company/agency that will be participating in the conversation.

    One important policy is your 'parameters of conversation' guideline. When should you join a conversation? What value or use is your contribution to the audience? Is it appropriate to direct the audience to your product? etc.

    You could also draw up a decision-making guideline to help staff respond to references to your brand. Should you respond in all cases? How should you respond?

    You don't want to dictate exactly how staff respond, but if you give them assistance - and the confidence - to reply, they will come across in a more natural, friendly way, reflecting positively on your brand.

    Vr 17 jul 2009, 15:27

  • Great article, good points and analogy. I never thought about how social media "experts" are simply describing what others have done, not what they themselves have worked on. I think that's definitely a dilemma in relatively new industries though -- as people begin to jump on board, they automatically think they are an expert just because they know how someone else did it.

    However, I definitely believe that experience speaks louder than words, if that makes sense.

    Vr 17 jul 2009, 17:35

  • @Gary. Thanks for your input, additional points well made:) Totally agree with "if you don't know where you going how do you know when you get there". That's very true, although (sorry, here goes) it can be very difficult to project social media/online pr efforts, it very much depends on so many factors; client, idea, social space, the list goes on. But I totally agree you need to have a goal, an ideal or a vision for what you want to acomplish. It also very much depends on how the audience feels, how they respond. One thing is for sure, it's impossible to do social media without the help from the social space, the people in the networks and their willingness to spread the word.

    @Kelsey. Thanks for commenting :) Yeah Social Media is still a relatively new industry but I really do think that it's plenty of people with the experience under their belt, even if it's not as impressive as "where the hell is Matt" or "the Obama campaign", but I think people attending these conference would have better use of seeing how it worked for smaller brands, how you made it work in an industry you wouldn't have thought social media would be relevant. That's impressive to me. Anyway, boy am I ranting now.

    Again thanks everyone for commenting! Have a good weekend.

    Vr 17 jul 2009, 18:24

  • "it can be very difficult to project social media/online pr efforts" - that is true Lisa, especially if you're starting out or its a new project/platform for you. Perhaps I should revise my comment to say have a clear idea of what you want to achieve as a goal, but make every effort to measure your activity and make a informed judgement of its success based on what you know (conversions, followers, mentions, competition entries etc.)

    Vr 17 jul 2009, 21:42

  • @Gary. Absolutely, I agree. The importance of tracking, and making sure tracking is one of the points in the planning stage is so important. I totally agree Gary, it's too many Social Media campaigns that goes untracked. Which is a disgrace as it's not that difficult to track, making sure you report on the statistics and analyse afterwards is very important.

    And maybe more importantly, and I think this is what you mean as well Gary, don't just jump on the "social" bandwagon because everyone else is. Have goals of what you ideally want to achieve at least.

    Ma 20 jul 2009, 11:41

  • Stupid question: what's site seeding?

    Vr 24 jul 2009, 06:10

  • Hi Kurt, it's not a stupid question at all. I should have explained it.

    Basically "site seeding" means time spent on finding websites that are relevant to your website. "Seeding" websites to find the most relevant to target.

    Vr 24 jul 2009, 12:46

    • Keith

    'In fact; I would go as far as to say that saying you are doing social media by simply just being signed up to all these social channels, is just like saying you are building a house by just holding the hammer! Without the architects plan, the material and the workmen.'

    - Is that not the comparison to make between SEO and Web Developers :)

    Also, RE: 'Seeding' - whenever I've seen any company post on a website forum they get flamed for spamming. Do you have an example of this approach actually working?

    I am a sceptic of all social media marketing, so examples would be nice!

    Wo 14 jul 2010, 00:45


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