Although I’m not one of the lucky ones attending @radian6’s #Social2011 conference in Boston this week, I’ve been watching the video feeds and monitoring the discussion on Twitter. Overall I’m really impressed with the event; Radian6 did a bang-up job.
On Wednesday evening (before the conference began) I finished writing an incredibly presumptuous cover letter about social engagement in advertising as part of my #failweek pledge. 12 hours later, the #Social2011 keynote speakers were on stage, articulating the exact ideas I had just finished writing about. This sparked two simultaneous reactions for me:
- #WIN: I AM on the right track!
- #FAIL: Aww man, why don’t I have a job in this arena already? I know what I’m talking about. I just need someone to listen, recognize my worth, and USE ME.
This is what I wrote. Don’t steal it. That’s not cool.
There are a lot of words and pictures streaming through the advertising world, but the gems all illustrate the same thing – an idea that revolves around a personality-based conversational style. The bottom line of creating action is sparking inspiration, and it’s high time we harnessed social media and listening technology to create advertising campaigns that don’t suck.
You gotta fail before you can win, and digital strategy is a playground filled with opportunities begging to be explored. I first dove in with a small Internet start-up, where among other things I learned just how hard it is to purposely create a viral video. There, I managed a team of six activists on two continents, helping them broadcast stories of environmental change to grow a network of supporters. The campaign failed spectacularly because broadcasting was placed first, with listening and UX/UI ranking second and third. Lesson learned.
Today Amber Naslund, VP Social Strategy for Radian6, tweeted: “If you have to start your mass DM with “NOT SPAM”, guess what? Spam is my criteria, not yours.” That last bit really resonates with my philosophy on advertising. People know what they want and what they don’t, and they aren’t afraid to say it. Social media allows agencies to listen and join these conversations in a personal way, but I haven’t seen many brands convert this into advertising action – and I’m baffled as to why.
People love to talk. They love being listened to even more. A good digital strategy must focus on the conversation between consumer and brand to achieve success in this age of social media. Technology is moving faster than people or businesses can keep up, but clear, two-way communication can and should remain a constant goal, achievable on all platforms.
These ideas have seemed incredibly obvious to me for a long time, but I’ve struggled to put them into coherent sentences. It felt really good to finally get them out on paper, and the very next day have them validated by some of the top leaders in the industry. But I can’t help but wonder, “Why am I not standing there next to them?”
A few weeks ago my mentor reminded me that it’s all about stamina. Persistence is what got this technology to where it’s at today, and persistence is what will keep it going. You just gotta be able to alter course while maintaining speed. I can do that. Will somebody please use me?