Social Media WTF

This minor epiphany occurred to me when I was prepping for a talk I gave last week. I can’t believe it’s never struck me before.

Here’s the setup – in the 12+ years I’ve been playing with social software I’ve seen a constant parade of new shiny objects emerge, draw their share of buzz for a while, then (in the vast majority of cases) fade into the mists of memory. (Orkut, anyone? MySpace? Digg? FourSquare…?)

The Next Big Thing everyone’s frothing over right now, of course, is Pinterest, with countless breathless blog posts cooing over the insane (INSANE!) growth of this latest glossy, lovely, simple social sharing service.

Pinterest is, without question, 2012′s SODJ (Shiny/Social Object De Jour).

One of the big questions I get asked all the time when I’m talking to clients, colleagues, or rooms full of eager neophytes goes something like this:

“What should my Facebook strategy be?” or “What should we do with Twitter?” or, these days, it’s all “How do we start with Pinterest?”

Here’s a clue. A great deal of the attention lavished on Pinterest in the last few weeks is pointing to one key thing: the huge amount of traffic Pinterest (and its ilk) can drive to your website.

Get that? The hierarchy of the relationship is important. Drive… traffic… to your website.

As wonderful and shiny as all these social thingies are, your website (or blog) should still be the hub of your overall online strategy. EVERYTHING should drive to that central online home that you own and control (and frequently update).

Here’s the way I captured it in my deck last Friday:

See what I did there?

The Website is the hub, Twitter and Facebook are shells around it, directing traffic to the centre. If you’re ever having trouble remembering this, just think: WTF!

I’m sure someone else has probably stumbled across this same cute mnemonic before, but the moment it occurred to me I just couldn’t resist using it.

Of course, Twitter and Facebook are placeholders. It could just as easily be WTP for Pinterest, or WFB (Website, Flickr, Ban.jo) – although that just wouldn’t be nearly as funny as telling the boss your strategy is “WTF”.

Point is: (say it with me) your website is always at the centre.

Yes, you should evaluate each new SODJ as it comes along and determine its relevance to your marketing and communications efforts. But don’t ever invest all of your online dollars into building out a fabulous community on someone else’s platform. Bring those people home to somewhere you control, where you set the rules and you own the relationship.

As the splendid Marcus Sheridan would probably put it: don’t think about what your social media strategy is — or your Pinterest strategy, or your Highlight strategy, or your [whatever] strategy. Figure out what your content strategy is, and make every SODJ the slave to that.

4 thoughts on “Social Media WTF

  1. Michael, that is such a genius picture and a very smart article. You got everything in the totally right way and your words could be relied on for sure. So I’ve read this blog post and I am glad I did that because it gave me a lot of great information!

  2. Pingback: Leaky Algorithmic Marketing Efforts or Why Social Advertising Sucks | Uninstalled

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