Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Guts of Social Media

After a long conversation today with someone on a completely different topic, it occurred to me why I find the creation and application of meaningless - and in many cases, ridiculous - quantitative values to Social media absolutely maddening.

Marketing is not a science, any more than Information Science is a science (I say this as a person with a Master's in Information Science.) You can apply all the numbers you like to it, but Social Media is not a science. You can make a case for Advertising being a series of mathematical formulas that are applied across various media, but the best marketing is not based on numbers.

When you hire a website designer, do you ask if their websites have gotten more hits than another designer's? No, because that would be silly. You look at their aesthetic, their navigation, their usability.

When you hire an artist to paint your portrait would you consider asking them how much the other people they have painted make annually? Of course not, because you'd be measuring the wrong thing.

The same is true when you apply certain values to your Social Media. You can't measure relationship building before the fact. Yes, you can estimate, but estimates are guesses, informed by experience.

Guts, Experience and Aesthetic are what builds a great Social Media Strategy

You can't standardize, quantify or boilerplate these things.

A really good Social Media strategy will draw on your experience with your audience, your gut sense of what they REALLY want and need, and the appropriate aesthetic to attract them to your business.

No amount of number crunching is going to beat having the right gut sense of what works. Because great Social Media is an art, not a science.
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