A client recently quipped:
“How hard can social media be? All you have to do is write some tweets and status updates. What’s the big deal?”
It was difficult to know where to start. Because calling “social media” tweets and status updates is like calling public relations writing press releases or thinking that advertising is a TV commercial.
Let me be clear:
Facebook is NOT status updates.
Twitter is NOT tweets.
YouTube is NOT videos.
LinkedIn is NOT resume updates.
Not even a little bit. Unfortunately, there are too many companies that don’t understand this. They don’t realize that social networks are platforms - interactive and multimedia platforms. That activations and interactions can be everything from videos and games to polls and social shopping. There are few limitations on the content you can develop for social networks.
The biggest limitation, however, is a lack of imagination. Or a lack of technical understanding on how these social platforms work.
Take Facebook, for example.
The status update is the primary way people communicate and interact on the platform. But to focus all your energy on cranking out status updates would be like buying a Porsche and never shifting out of first gear.
Let me give you three examples at what my team has recently been able to accomplish on Facebook:
- Product Launch. We announced a brand-new packaged good using a Facebook application. As part of the roll-out, we gave away more than 250,000 free samples by having people share the new product news and fill-out a short form right on the application. They could watch a video, share the news, leave reviews and opinions behind and invite friends to get a free sample. At one point, we gave away more than 10,000 samples in 32 minutes.
- Facebook TV. We produced, directed, filmed and syndicated a “live” hour-long cooking show and embedded it right on a Facebook application from Ustream. Ustream ran the show on its front page. We incorporated social interactions as they occurred on the TV show. Our celebrity chef urge people to leave comments on Facebook and Twitter and part of the show was designated to answer questions directly from social channels.
- Daily Giveaway. We built and are managing a year-long sweepstakes for a client where people from around the country share their desire for an adventure and the equipment they would need to fulfill it. We pick one winner each day based on the creativity of the adventures and give them a gift package to make their adventure come true. All of the adventure stories are archived and people can read, share and comment on them. In the first few weeks more than 12,000 people shared their fantasy adventures with us.
There are few obstacles to doing most anything on social platforms like Facebook.
But if you’re thinking about social media in simple terms then you’ll likely get simple returns. If you start to think about social media as a platform that can support multimedia, applications, software and games then you’ll likely get big returns.
Remember the biggest part of an iceberg is always what lies under the surface of the ocean. This is why it is important for brands to partner not only with creative social media consultants, but consultants that inherently understand the platforms as part of their DNA.
What about you? How are you using social media platforms? Are you stuck with think about Facebook as a status update and Twitter as a tweet?