Don’t let the words f*ck you up. It’s not social media you’re betting against, it’s the Internet… and if you’re betting against the Internet, I wish you the best of luck.
This, loosely paraphrased, was from Gary Vaynerchuk [vay-ner-chuk] (@garyvee), best-selling author and self-trained social media expert at last week’s inaugural Social Mix from @jugnoome (#SoMix2012 was amazing, by the way. I highly recommend it). Gary was the closing speaker for the day-long social media marketing event. His message wasn’t new: the Internet is big. But how he evangelized and contextualized the message was inspirational. Gary’s most recent book, The Thank You Economy, would have been called “Why radio is going to change the game” in the 1920s. In the ‘90s, it would’ve been called “Why Amazon is Going to Take Over the Retailing World”. Ultimately, though, it’s about something bigger than these tools… it transcends immediate application and speaks to something greater than a single revolutionary platform.
We rave about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social media channels du jour because they work. Remember when you first started email campaigning vs. what, faxes?? You’re going to where the customers are, faster. That’s what social media is. Community building, networking, sharing and, ultimately, it’s a route-to-market.
It amazes me to be part of so-called integrated strategies that include traditional media buys. Clients will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV, radio and print. They’ll nod, understanding how expensive it can be, and get excited at the prospect of that massive TV audience for their 30-second ad. Of course they’re not thinking about the throngs of people who got up to take a piss during their spot, or those that PVR (yes, using PVR as a verb. All the cool kids are doing it). They’re not asking for better metrics. They don’t seem to care that they don’t, really, know who is seeing their ads.
Enter the digital media buy. “Why would we do Facebook? What kind or ROI are we talking about? How do we know people are clicking on our ads? Can we target women?” Where did this imbalance come from? What’s the ROI? In Gary Vee’s words: “What’s the ROI of your mother??” What’s the ROI of your print ad that has a CPM based on the fact that "John" may leave the magazine in the cr*pper and two other people will read it (and maybe turn to page 57 where your ad lives)?
It’s scary how effective social media can be. The targeting opportunities in Facebook are insane: 25- to 54-year-old women who live in Toronto, who are married, who have a birthday in the next week, who like basket-weaving and have friends named “Sue” (maybe not that last one, but you know what I mean). We can advertise to that group with multiple messages, point them to wherever we want them to go and, incredibly, we can also insert pieces of code at the landing point to measure their activities and, ultimately, capture the data to remarket to them days, weeks or months later to maintain the touch point with the brand. Show me how a print ad can do that.
Anyway, even after all that we still have clients who claim social isn’t for them. They don’t “believe in it.” Really? You don’t believe the stats that one in four people who see something on Pinterest make a purchase? You don’t think it’s important that Pinterest receives almost 1.5 million visitors each day and provides more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined? It’s not social you’re betting against. That’s just a word. It’s the Internet you’re claiming doesn’t work. Let’s ask Blockbuster what they think about that.