You have two choices:

  1. Begin utilizing social media as part of your overall marketing strategy.
  2. Don’t use social media and watch angrily while your competitors put you out of business.

Which do you chose?

47-social1-031708 We at Pandemic Labs have been preaching this evangel since the formation of the company. Don’t worry, we are not nearly so arrogant as to think that we were lone crusaders for the cause. Greater thinkers than us such as Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott have been on the bandwagon since before there was a bandwagon. However, I truly believe that right now we are in the midst of a shift in marketing dollars on a tectonic scale. This belief is not just entrepreneurial optimism; the signs are all around us. I can see proof of the change right in my own office as new clients are coming faster than ever before. And then I saw an AdAge article by Beth Snyder Bulik which further signals what I have been thinking all this time.

I’ll begin by quoting a great bit of the article which mirrors my own sentiments so much that I smiled while reading:

However, for marketers, it’s a better idea to first do the back-end work of research to decide what they want to accomplish, what they want to say and how they’ll say it. You’ll also need to either appoint or hire someone to write and monitor the blog posts and responses. Nothing is worse than a half-assed blog with infrequent updates and little customer relevance or connecting.

I could not agree more. I expressed the same sentiments in an interview for Knowledge@Wharton:

“People come to us saying, ‘I hear viral video is cool. How do we do it?’ That’s funny, because if a company wanted to do a TV campaign, they wouldn’t walk into [advertising agency] Ogilvy and say, ‘TV is cool. How do we do it?'” The first question companies should ask themselves, says Peters, is, “‘What do I want to accomplish from this form of marketing?

I do have one major disagreement with the article. Towards the end of the article Bulik says, “Social media is not, as yet, a great ad network, and it probably isn’t a great long-term traffic generator or brand builder.” I don’t think this is an accurate statement. While it is true that social media is not an “ad network,” I think it is certainly a long term traffic generator and most definitely a great brand builder.

In its various incarnations, social media is one of the most powerful ways to begin dialogues with consumers. Those conversations are absolutely building your brand. As we move forward, it will become clear that those brands which converse with and engage consumers will leave other brands in the dust. How can one claim that social media is not a brand builder? Even if Bulik were to believe that social media is not currently a “long-term traffic generator or brand builder,” her phrasing unfairly discounts the future potential of social media as it continues to evolve.

Overall, though, it’s a great article and I am happy to see it in AdAge. What are your thoughts on the reported growth of the industry? Let me know in the comments.

Written by Matt Peters
Matt is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pandemic Labs, and enjoys thinking about, writing about, and talking about social media marketing whenever someone will let him.