Social Media & Marketing Wisdom
In early 2010, a person told me that social media was a fad and that only those financially benefiting from its existence (e.g., client work) were advocates for its usage. Therefore, someone like me was disqualified to share the merits of it since a portion of my livelihood comes from managing social media accounts and developing new media strategy.
Yes, this person committed a logical fallacy in critical thinking called the genetic fallacy (i.e., discounting a person’s argument by attacking the origin of the argument). Regardless, here we are today. Social media has indeed changed the way individuals, companies, and organizations now interact with people.
A common question I have been asked more frequently these past few months is whether or not a company and/or organization should shift most of their marketing dollars to social media and/or social networking platforms in lieu of traditional media. In response, I’ve often turned to two thinkers who probably have no idea that their thoughts have shaped my thinking on this: (1) Aristotle and (2) Malcolm Gladwell.
- Aristotle – I’ve adapted Aristotle’s approach to virtue to filter many choices in life, including social media. He stated that every ethical virtue or positive character trait can be described as a pleasant intermediate activity, between a painful excess and a painful deficiency. As it relates to social media, I don’t think the solution is in completely removing traditional media and replacing it with new media. I think there’s wisdom in between. Therefore, social media should be one component of one’s overall marketing strategy instead of a total replacement.
- Malcolm Gladwell – In his well known TED talk on spaghetti sauce, Gladwell traces the evolution in the food industry from finding the “perfect recipe” to finding the perfect recipe”s”. In other words, looking for a platonic (i.e., universally perfect) recipe was a mistake since most human beings, when it comes to food or other items of consumption, are not all in the same boat of preference. In a similar light, I think it is a mistake for companies and/or organizations to look for the perfect solution for marketing. If you’re asking “What is the perfect way to market?”, you’re asking the wrong question. Rather, you should be asking, what are the perfect “ways” to market. One of these ways to market now a days is social media. (Side Note: Just don’t forget that social media marketing needs to be social…another topic for another time.)
Will social media completely replace traditional advertisement? I don’t think so. Nevertheless, it rightly challenges the way marketing is done and brings with it, a deeps sense of human connection that is uniquely ripe for this era of living.