Social Media Top 5: The Problem with Absolutes

20100212 - Batman & Robin on absolute truths - generatorFor this Social Media Top 5 (now an occasional feature of this blog, apparently), I noticed some articles (the first three on this last) that seemingly posed some absolutes. Of course, once you read any blog post in the marketing workd, extremism is rarely the truth, and that goes here.

Curation vs Original Content: Not Black & White

David Meerman Scott blogged about how curation is far less valuable to a brand than original content. Many bloggers (corporate bloggers in this context) aggregate “links of the week” or similar features to fill out their content calendars. That is true, but only to a point. original content represents original thought, and thus one would think readers (customers) would reward that more handsomely with their hard-earned cash and hard-won patronage.

However, let’s not rule out curation, done correctly. In early social media days, I noticed many folks I know putting up blog posts (automated by as it turned out) that simply put up links– that was it. I found that useless and a troubling trend, and in fact this “Social Media Top 5 was originally a satirical response to those posts.

Is that curation, though? I don’t think so. Good curation provides context to the links- so not only should a blogger be pointing to other sources of content that readers might find valuable, but also providing opinions, additional facts, and value that makes the curation a post in itself (I hope that’s what I’m doing here). David agrees, which is of no surprise to me.

Scale vs Creating Value

Rachel Happe of the Community Roundtable chastises the popular social media platforms for focusing on scale rather than value creation. My response? I thinks scale is necessary to larger organizations online. They must find a way to speak to and reach larger numbers of people- it’s an occupational hazard- while still creating that value. Sure, there are tradeoffs, and perhaps value comes first, I understand that. Also, is it the fault of the platforms to encourage massive numbers and scale? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the rest want to make money somehow, and one way is to sell access to as large (and valuable, sure) a group of people as possible. It’s not the responsibility of the platform then, so it must  be that of the content creator. Some of these platforms will be rigged to serve scale better, but valuable content will drive quality and results– but again, for most, not without scale.

Email vs Social Content Stop Sharing Your Email Newsletter in Social?

Another smart local marketer, Christopher Penn, wrote about how sharing email newsletter content vial social devalues the content. Chris writes from the perspective of a professional email marketer, so it’s understandable. One of the advantages of email is that you control the platform better than, say, Facebook. You can track opens, and encourage other actions that are also trackable. The problem with looking at his as an absolute is that this way of thinking depends on your purpose for the email. You may be better off getting better reach through freeing the content over social channels and getting more inbound hits (which may be harder to track). You also might score points by breaking the email newsletter into pieces and doling those out as shorter posts on public channels that tease the complete content on your proprietary channel. That method Chris endorses, if I understand him correctly

Source: Hot Butter Studio

I have posted here frequently on what I think of as the scourge of bad infographics: tiny text, images that don’t fit on a screen, and other tactics that render infographics useless in the name either of being clever or of cramming all the information into one place (stop that!).  I was relieved to see Beth Kanter’s primer on infographics, which featured examples that are much clearer, to the point, and digestible- what infographics should be. I’m not going to like anything 100%, but this post seems to promote more common sense than we normally see out there, so listen to Beth.

Grey Poupon- Is This Campaign Good Enough?

Just a thought on a Facebook campaign that people were raving bout this past week. Grey Poupon set its Facebook page up as if “Liking” it gave you admission to an exclusive club. What drives me nuts is people praising the creative, which of course was good, but it was not clear what the end goal was. As with the Old Spice video campaign of a year or two back, let’s wait and see if there were some results from this– and what are the goals of this program, exactly? I’m not saying there isn’t- I just don’t know, and want to reserve judgment either way.

By the way- I have not bought any mustard as a result, but who knows, maybe I was exposed to enough warm fuzzies to predispose me to the brand in the future. Curiously, my 14 year-old son prefers Old Spice these days; though he hasn’t reference their campaigns, it seems their overall integrated campaign to appeal to youth has succeeded- in my house, at least.

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