Friday, February 15, 2013

Talking to Ourselves

Bryan Boettger wrote a well-researched blog that made a great point in MediaPost's "Social Media Insider" yesterday about the Oreo tweet.
Slam dunk (sorry) on the point he made, which is that of the THOUSANDS of retweets it received, a high percentage were from other marketers and social media folks: 
In an age when social media is supposed to help brands connect with average consumers, I find it ironic that the social media industry is what Oreo seemed to connect with most – not average consumers....
...I think Oreo and 360i did an amazing job. They were aware, smart, creative and fast --everything a brand and agency should be.
[But] Here’s the big point: I just question how much the tweet resonated with the general public, compared to resonating with what our industry is craving.

Bryan also compared the tonnage of retweets to the number for the most popular presidential post during the elections.  It was less than half of Oreo's.  His explanation is that
The President’s tweet was spread by average Americans, but Oreo’s tweet was spread by us: ad industry pundits, professionals and news outlets. And it was retweeted by us IMMEDIATELY after it came out.
To me, an important point beyond that in this example marketers were talking to mainly each other, is that in general we follow like-minded people most often. We choose to hang out in similar circles, like birds of a feather.  And while social media amplifies all our voices louder and broader, for sure, ears that we hope to influence may never hear our point of view because they probably have not chosen to follow us. 

More and more we'll stay in our own lanes, listening to each other speak about the stuff we already agree with.  This is might not matter much with a package goods scenario - Oreo and others have brand strategies and advertising that helps them reach wider audiences.  But it's definitely important in social CAUSE circles and politics.  We're already spending way to much time talking to ourselves versus really engaging with other opinions.  It's the trouble with citizen journalism and it's an easy way to homogenize communities. 

So, reach out, everyone, and do something crazy like following some people you don't necessarily agree with.  And maybe even retweet them!