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Category: Social Media

Social Advertising – a defintion

Reading through my tweeted links this morning came across Read/WriteWeb’s post SocialMedia Aims to Bring Attention Economy to Advertising discussing Seth Goldstein’s presentation of Seth’s new company at the Graphing Social Patterns conference. What caught my eye was the term Social Advertising and Seth’s definition of Social Advertising.

Lately I’ve been struggling with definitions, mainly how marketing/advertising is defining social media. For the most part people get ‘it’s the conversation thingy/stuff’ that is going on. But from there I’ve noticed the jumps in discount people are making in regards to the relations on how we use/work within the social media space. I think the parring of media with social is confusing people. People understand that ‘social’ is the conversational/connecting. With ‘media’ people tend to get the notion that somehow traditional media or PR people can us a broadcast form of advertising and effect the, as Herd author Mark Earls puts it, ‘endogenous word of mouth’. The disconnect is that ‘media’ is really referring to the environment that is holding/allowing the ‘social’ to take place and has little to do with brand communications. So when I saw ‘Social Advertising’ it clicked with me…maybe this is the term we need to clear out some confusion.

Now, I wasn’t there so I don’t know the discussion surrounding the slides below, but I disagree with his definition. From what I can tell, his definition looks more like contextual advertising is a social media environment. The example of Social Ads are just that. But to me, that’s not social advertising.

Social advertising is the act of creating brand conversation in a social media environment. This definition high lights what social media is – an environment of conversation/connecting and that putting a banner ad in Facebook is not social media.

So, your thoughts? I’ve put up the slides show below for reference. Do we need a better definition of social media and social brand communications?

Have you run into problems with the understanding of social media? How did you get past them?

Update: Ok, after some further review…I think my instincts were right but some of my thinking a little off. My definition of social advertising is not quite right and the definition put by Seth is. Advertising, as in the act of making an announcement about a product (or something like that), in a social media environment would be social advertising. The definition I was thinking is more along the lines of

Social marketing is the act of creating brand conversation in a social media environment.


Social Media – What are we doing this for?

Over the weekend I became addicted to twitter all over again because of one simple feature – “track”. “Track” in twitter will allow you to have any tweets with what you want to track sent to you. For the past couple of days I’ve been conducting a couple of experiments to see if it is as clever as it sounds…and so far, it is. And it can let you stalk people much more efficiently. Not that I am. Let’s move on.

What are we using social media for? What are we trying to achieve?

Because of the track feature I was able find some really interesting twitter-ers, thoughts and bloggers all thinking about social media. One of them was Ben Yoskovitz of Instigator Blog with his post Ignore the Social Media Scoreboard. In his post he questions what are we in Social Media for? He takes his Social Media Scoreboard (really good analogy by the way) down the personal path of how we can get seduced into getting more friends, more followers and better ranking against other bloggers. How it all becomes a numbers game and we loose sight of why we joined MySpace/Facebook in the first place. Hint – it wasn’t about the numbers.

Now I’ve seen a similar theme popping up on the brand/marketing side of the social media fence as well. David Armano talks about the Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome – B.S.O.S – and how marketers are falling for the latest buzz/hype. That if marketers/advertisers just create a widget, Facebook app, MySpace page with thousands and thousands of friends for the brand/marketing message, the message will be fine and conquered new media. Even creatives are being seduced by B.S.O.S and the magical Social Media Scoreboard. Ad Pulp shared Sally Hogshead’s thoughts from AdAge on how creatives are not creating concepts or insights into brand/humans but relying on creating clever tactics – the latest B.S.O. (Bright Shiny Object…oh I wanted to just leave it B.S.). I can attest to that. I work on a brand that has thousands of MySpace friends. I stare at them [the friends] and you know what, they just stare back at me. And in my mind I keep wondering…what?…why do we have these friends?…well, hi there friends, nice to see you…. (to be transparent, it is my fault that we have not leveraged them yet…I’m working a few programs now to do that).

So I go back to, what are we using social media for? What are we trying to achieve?

This is what I think our communal blogosphere conversation on social media needs to move towards answering. The shiny objects and the numbers on the scoreboard are always going to be there. New social networks are popping up all the time (Wixi is a really cool one btw…kind of what I wish Orkut was) along with the newest Twitter killers. It’s not about the new tactics. So what is it about? Reading between the lines of Execs stumble in new media world, I get an idea that when consumers/people become the users…we have very different needs. Different desires. That we [consumers] didn’t come here for the message/communication, we came for something else. I think there is a cross somewhere between connection + conversation + content/functionality tied to a creative concept/idea that will get us out of tactics and into something more brand/market/connection. How we exactly do that? Not sure, lets have a chat about it.

Update: One other thought. For me, this post is more than just arguing ‘get past the tactics’. I feel like we are missing the point with social media because it has the ‘media’ tag to it. The media tag always has this…measure it with numbers feel to it. And a…we make this message, we deliver it to you feel/history. To me, that misses the entire point of social media. Social media is that grey matter that you can’t explain, touch or measure…but you inherently know what it is. It is that connection, that conversation, that experience we share. I believe that brand/market communication can exist and work in this social media space. But it is not about broadcasting a price or a reason to buy this product. It is about that handshake you give when you sell a pound of tomatoes at the farmers market. This post is a tiny crack in open a very large door. I’m looking to think on it some more…


Social Media: Evolution to Execution – PROMO Live presentation

Today I had the honor of moderating a panel on social media with some of my favorite thought leaders in the blogosphere. While I am very tired, I wanted to get the presentation posted…and will be updating this post with thoughts of the last two incredible days I’ve had with fellow blogger and social media geeks (we may have described ourselves as such after a few Stella’s…find a twitter feed or two, you’ll understand). Once again, thanks to all who were involved.

David Armano
Noah Brier
Rohit Bhargava
Matt Dickman

The slides from the discussion –


Sharing the Harley-Davidson experience

With the ‘Age of Conversation‘ coming of…well..age, brands have been asking – how do we [brands, brand communication] engage in consumer’s conversations? I’ve always believed in a couple simple rules of thumb in engaging consumers with brand conversational/social media communications;

1 – give consumers something to talk about
2 – give consumers a place to talk

One of the best conversational bits you can give consumers to talk about is a brand experience. Let them get involved in the essence or what makes the brand what the brand is. Now, given, that is not always the easiest thing to do. But one client at my current agency has taken some giant steps lately to sharing it’s brand and the experience that comes with the brand with consumers.

The team that is working on doing this has done a great job letting consumer peek into the Harley-Davidson world and the DNA that makes up the brand. They created a live feed google gadget/widget and banner from Sturgis. For those who don’t know, thousands of Harley-Davidson riders descend upon the city of Sturgis once a year to gather and be a part of all things Harley-Davidson. The live gadget lets consumers from all over the world lets them see just what this event is, what this gathering of Harley-Davidson community is all about. This is a great step to giving the consumers something to experience, something to talk about.

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