Old School PR Tactics and Half Truths Have No Place in Social Media
Word of mouth isn’t something you can control. It is spread by humans- it’s not called word of newspaper, or word of TV.
That’s powerful. If you can manage to develop something or tell a story that actually compels people to tell each other about it, you have tapped into a method of communication that is fast, cheap and most trusted.
Don’t Let the PR Guy Near Your Blog or Social Media
Put out a well-polished press release about your new cell phone, in tandem with your massive TV & radio campaign? Meh. Put out a video of two of your employees using the phone to capture video of their co-worker drooling on his desk where he just fell asleep, well now you’ve got my attention.
Here’s the catch, though- you really better remember that part about the humans and your lack of control of the message.
When you decide to start a blog, or make a viral video, or even spread a rumor- you must first resolve yourself NOT to run it past the PR department. You must keep it honest and real, because once that story leaves your preferred method(s) of transmission, it’s in the mouths of the public, passed along in the subway, through myspace profiles, social bookmarking sites and the like.
And it can change and morph and even come back to you something different than what you sent out.
The People are the Medium, and You Don’t Control the People
If you keep your story real, we’re in business. But if you’ve told a fib or your messages contradict each other then you may have a problem. These aren’t the days where you can get away with lying to people. You can’t depend on your carefully crafted message to fool the public. Not in the era of youtube enabled phones and micro-blogging.
Here’s a recent video created by Dove, as part of their campaign for real beauty. According to wikipedia, (yes I’m quoting wikipedia- have the debate about it somewhere else) the campaign is funded by their Self Esteem Fund, which is meant to “to educate and inspire girls on a wider definition of beauty and to make them feel more confident about themselves.”
Their latest video, called Onslaught, is meant to get you to think. In it, they show a young girl, and then switch to a barrage of images from the entertainment and beauty industries that are thought to warp and attack female self-esteem. It’s very powerful.
If you like that, you may like a video we made last night. It’s informative, it’s provocative, and it’s intended to get you to think.
Only, it’s intended to get you to think about the messages you put in your social and viral media. For instance, if you decide to gain the public’s trust by telling us we shouldn’t fall prey to superficial, damaging views, you might want to check to see if you’re also generously contributing to them.
Behold: The Dove Onslaught Exposed. The Emperor is in a Teeny Tiny Bikini
Here’s a link to the video for our RSS readers
Remember: you’re talking to humans now, not ad execs. We don’t just repeat your marketing message- sometimes we stop for a minute and think about it first. Plan that into the next viral effort you craft. Plan that we think, and we’re powerful now thanks to social media- sometimes as powerful as you.
The new exciting world of social media and viral marketing is incredible- large companies are learning to interact like individuals and visa versa. In trying to harness it’s power, though, do not use the company-line PR tactics of yesteryear and expect to get away with it. Be real.