Dr. Mariann Hardey

Digitally on.

Speaker, Writer, Academic.

Durham University Lecturer.

I do stuff for the BBC.

Feminist & lovely.

Slanguage of social media

Compulsive creativy

December 2015

Anecdotes abound about the impact of social media to propel, out-perform, and even revoluationise marketing.

This post is inspired by the following exchange¹: 

Them: What marketing touchpoint drove the sales?

Agency: The ingenious ad CAMPAIGN? nope. 

Search: The LINK on our trending keyword? nope. 

Social: Our TWEET with dancing kitty cats? nope. 

Influencer (yes, those mythical unicorns): The Z-list retweeting, insta-post with dancing cats and #? nope. 

Mobile: The POP-UP ad that is nearly impossible to close (hahahaha ha)? nope. 

Promo: The LOGO in a retail magazine? nope.

Real Consumer: Dunno, just got 'it' cos they were out of what I usually purchase. Yep. 

There is a phenomenon called 'social media marketing' and it is over-hyped.

It is possible that viewing of dancing cat media improves mood, but this activity does not produce sales.  Social media are a function of the individuals links betwen their procrastination, guilt, and happiness. Nuances related to the emotional manipulation of social media offer another channel for a campaign, but do not (solely) sales make.  Too often around commercial and trade conferences (and even in the academic sector) this equation appears:

Social media+consumers = 'new' and revolutionary marketing ∑ sales. 

Several generalisations being made here: social media are 'good'; social media equate to high volume sales; social media can move around more complex process of mediated organisational communication. Here's the headline, they are not; they have not; and they cannot.

In the method of social media marketing and based on my study of organisations, here are four dimensions that you need to strategise: 

1.the different incentives of creators and intermediaries;

2.the variety of ways in which content is produced and shared;

3.the central importance of intermediation and co-production;

and 4.the widespread dispute to delineate rights and obligations in an era of digital content production.

Until you can provide evidence that social media is broadly understood as successful marketing - as a congruence between organisational activity and consumer expectations - then you'll want to hold off a campaign with just dancing cats.

Good sources inlude: 

Brian Solis defining the confluence of communication and influence; 

danah boyd  principle researcher at microsoft

Lee Raine director at Pew research centre

There are many, many more... My Durham University Masters, MSc, MBA and PhD students, you can start with the above links and develop your marketing comms strategy from there.. 

¹Credit to Marketoonist, and the marketing attribution scenario