Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Social media is about the medium, not the message

I recently read a blog post "Word of Mouth is Still Sexier Than Social Media" on Jay Ehret's excellent blog The Marketing Spot. In it, he urges business owners not to get seduced by social media - which is currently very popular. He makes the point that Word of Mouth marketing is still more powerful than social media.

I agree with Jay, and I take his point a step further.

Too many people forget the "media" in "social media". A medium is the tool for carrying the message; it's not the message itself (Marshall McLuhan notwithstanding).

So here's my angle: Social media enables Word of Mouth. Social media is the telephone line, and Word of Mouth is the conversation.

Get good at both!

If you have a product, service or great idea that people want to talk about but they don't have any way of connecting with others, you're wasting the power of Word of Mouth. Conversely, if you create the infrastructure but can't inspire people to say anything about your thing, you've wasted the time you invested.

So yes, by all means, build your Facebook profile, connect to lots of people on LinkedIn, and collect lots of followers on Twitter. You're laying the foundation for people in your tribe to talk about you. But don't forget to give them something to talk about as well!

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