In it for the long run

05Jul08

Here’s a nice post from Dave Fleet making the case for social media being like long distance running. He claims that with social media, “you need to put in a lot of work up-front – making connections, getting involved in the online communities and helping others, with what can sometimes feel like very little reward. […] the real rewards come later once you’ve done that initial work.”

I have to agree – in fact I recently commented on a Todd Defren post which looked at the question of ROI and what brands expect from investing in social media. The fact is that many a marketing director has heard about the potential of this brave new world, they know the hype and have seen success come to others. However, when it comes to turning around their own social media strategy, they still think in terms of reach, page impressions and KPIs.

I think this is perpetuated by so-called “full service” online agencies that are on the social media bandwagon to make a quick buck. This is the type of agency that chooses not to distinguish between organic engagement and paid-for viral distribution, which is essentially a form of advertising. With so many different flavours of agency out there, the bulk of the hard work is actually explaining to potential clients how we do it differently and how this is our own unique approach. Who can blame in-house marketing teams for thinking it’s a sprint with immediate return on investment when as an industry, social media marketing shirks the collaborative ethos that embodies that which we’re engaging with?

Social media is an endurance sport, and the sooner that the myth of overnight success is dispelled, the better things will be for all involved.

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4 Responses to “In it for the long run”

  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. Nicely said, thanks!

    On another note, I think this is the first time I’ve seen anyone link to the Social Media Today syndication of my posts. Interesting!

  3. Nice article.
    I was beginning to think it was just ‘me’ that was seeing the cynical way some agencies are jumping in on the social networking thing.

  4. 4 Lewis

    Thanks for the thoughts guys… I just had to put down how counter-productive I think the attitude is for the greater industry as a whole.



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