🍣 Three timeless truths in social
May i interest you in some evidence?
It’s become a bit of an in joke to say the world of social is anything but boring.
By which we mean of course, it’s complex at best, chaotic at worst, and poor social media managers and planners and whatnot out there who need to stay on top of all the features can barely plan their tactics two weeks in advance.
In reality of course, this is not quite the case, but perceiving it makes it so.
“Perception is reality” Lee Atwater
While social is all about timeliness, in terms of using the right features at the right time, participating in cultural moments or trending topics in a distinct yet credible way, understanding the shape of public narratives around [insert your thing] here, there is a whole lot of timeless stuff we often must remember in order to stay effective.
On the one hand, Octavia Butler has this to say:
“The only lasting truth is Change.”
On the other hand, Bill Bernbach would counter as such:
“A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”
And you know what, they’re both right!
When we think about social we need to constantly dance with the worlds of the changing vs unchanging, and how it affects the realities of commerce and its flashier cousin, communications. In simpler terms, yes change happens all the time and always has, except for the things that take a long time to change – like people.
So, given we largely accept that social keeps changing (related to this, Matt Klein’s piece on how the pace of ‘trends’ make everything kinda BS is excellent), let’s go back to basics on what does not change and how it affects the effectiveness of our work. This isn’t about the timeless drivers of human nature per se – though those alone are always fun to discuss – but more what some marketing science says tends to work.
Without further ado, here are three timeless truths that probably eat the timely nature of social for breakfast and still ask for seconds like the hungry little beasts they are:
1. Light buyers drive most sales
Shout out to the Dark Lord of Penetration on this one, who despite his questionable views on the climate crisis has much more solid views to help us address the crisis of effectiveness, so it’s a pick n’ mix sort of situation.
The pragmatic in me is ok with it.
(MOST of the time.)
So what are the implications for social? I can think of a few:
You need broad reach to get to as many of those light buyers as possible
Therefore you need to ensure your work is seen by as many as possible
Therefore you probably need a healthy media budget to ensure this happens
Therefore the role of organic social is not pointless, but has its limits
Which doesn’t mean that targeting existing advocates or followers is wrong, btw
But there are severe limits to how all that engagement translates to sales (trust me, i’ve tried to model the shit out of this countless times, it’s just not there)
And frankly the link between engagement and sales has proven to be non-existent
Which means passive exposure among many beats active interaction among few
But those actively interacting can be a gateway to reaching the passive many
And speaking of said active interaction folks, let’s talk about point number two.
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