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Life is a highway—so is social media marketing

November 12, 2008

I love, love, LOVE this social media analogy by Jay Deragon in his blog post “Marketing vs. Conversation.”

People don’t drive down the highway to read the billboards. They drive down a highway to get somewhere.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve heard over the last year, in which eager marketers want to jump on the social media bandwagon. I hear, “So-and-so is blogging, we should blog” and “Competitor Joe has a wiki, we need one too.” Other conversations amount to “all the cool kids have viral videos out on YouTube, we need one too.” There is so much buzz about social media marketing—everyone wants to participate, but I’m finding very few know how. And knowing how is only part of the battle. What about why?

Sure, it would be cool to have a viral video sweep YouTube like wildfire. But why do you want a viral video? What do you think it will get you? Sure, it would be cool to have an expert blogger engaging customers, thought leaders, reporters, and analysts, but what do you want to get from it?

I love that marketers are so excited about social media. I agree wholeheartedly that a strong B2B social media presence is important. But I encourage us all to step back and think about our goals and expectations. Know the why before you jump into the how, otherwise we’ll just be erecting annoying billboards along our customers’ highways.

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