Paul Dunay says there are NO campaigns in Social Media. I say there ARE. ARE TOO! ARE TOO! ARE… hmm. Well I tried to say there ARE, but moderation is turned on in his comments.

Paul, please turn moderation off, turn CAPTCHA on, and then just delete the handful of spam comments that come through. Otherwise it looks like you want to control the conversation. Anyone wonder why I don’t like blogs and think they are an old media one-to-many channel? 😛

There Is No “Campaign” in Social Media

When marketers use the word “campaign,” it tends to suggest an initiative to get a message out to a targeted group of constituents. It also implies there will be a beginning and, somewhere down the road, an ending.
This kind of thinking creates a danger zone for marketers when it comes to social media. Let me explain …

When starting a blog, podcast series or even a community, marketers have to think in longer terms than a standard campaign. A podcast series may not catch on for several months, heck, for even a year! I have been writing this blog for two years now, and it recently earned distinction as a Top 50 Blog to Watch in 08! (ok, shameless plug, yes, but it’s hard work!) (more)

Anyway, in good ol’ Web 2.0 fashion, I’m taking the discussion here, in case my comments don’t get printed:

Sorry, totally disagree.

Social Networks have a number of fundamental features that lend themselves very well to short term campaigns. One is Events (viral spiked time limited, such as competitions, fundraising days) and the other is Rituals (birthdays, Valentines). Social networks online are no different from communities offline. We use Events and Rituals offline for campaigns why not online?

Also (I realise I am being a little brief here, sorry) campaigns are used to experiment. And my goodness, we need companies to experiment in social media more! Fun Run for Breast Cancer awareness day in Second Life is a great ‘babystep’ introduction for sponsoring and being involved with a community over a ‘short’ period of time.

Forrester’s made the same mistake – assuming marketing is the same now the consumer has a voice as it was when they were just eyeballs. i.e. that marketeers can try something, look at the statistics and feedback and then adjust. This is uncharted territory. What didn’t work last year, may well work next week. Ongoing engagement may well mean throwing out a bunch of campaigns and having fun with it.

And Foresters of all people should understand that – they assessed GM’s ongoing campaigns and Ford and Proctor and Gamble. All of whom jumped in, made mistakes, tried again with no clear direction other than they wanted to be engaged.

The Dialogue is the Content – the content won’t run out, the opposite: tracking it all is gonna be difficult.

Heh. At least it’s another point of view. 🙂

I probably should’ve added that making it to the top of a mainstream list (the most eyeballs) is still an old media view. We measure success by what is important to us. Not necessarily stickability or unique page views – quality is as important as quantity.

Deborah Schultz is another one who hasn’t made the next step on social media campaigns and social media channels:

Wrong Question

There is no such thing as a Social Media Campaign. Social Media is not a campaign – you cannot view it through an outdated advertising lens.

If you are an individual it is about creativity and expression and connection. If you are a company it is an attitude, behavioral and cultural shift. It should be about persistence and dialogue and being in it for the long-haul. It is strategic.

Again, campaigns were always about shifting perceptions, and part of a long haul, persistent strategy. If anything the new campaigns shouldn’t be about that -they should be about trying things, failing forward. We still love our brands when they muck up. Honest we do. Of course the statement from Deborah is correct, but it’s waaaay too mediasnacky for me. How about this for a strategy – jump in, try some things, see what makes sense for your brand and don’t worry too much about a perfect image and succeeding every time?

Every time a company is advised to have a social media strategy instead of a brief campaign, they are sold something bigger than Ben Hur, with forums and blogs and wikis on their site and widgets and gadgets and user generated ads and … when parts of it fail (as it will) the whole “social media strategy” failed. And they give up. Nah, let them have their babysteps campaigns, (running a blog carnival or sponsoring the Second Life Fun Run) and keep a much more open ended strategy… scary huh?

I wrote it in pink, it looks less feisty then.

So what was the next step that was missing? Ah yes, the consumer uses the social media channel to push their own campaigns around your brand, in their own time. Coke/Mentos anyone?