5 Things about Social Media

I had a call with a client today. They are a huge, global company, and we have been doing brand tracking & analysis for them for several years.

They have a newly formed social media team, and I had a call with them today. I thought their questions (and my answers) might be relevant to others as well. Here is my follow-up email:


It was great to talk to you and your team just now.  You have a big (and exciting) job ahead; here are my thoughts.

  1. Social media is about human scale engagement – not technology
  2. SM is about relationships, not campaigns.  Plan accordingly
  3. SM cuts across silos.  It will involve marketing, product, customer service and legal (at least).  Doing it well will require C level approval AND support.
  4. Success in SM requires putting the community’s motivations first.  This is very hard for most companies to grasp.  It is not about selling something, but about getting people to love you so they will do more business with you.  A subtle, but important distinction.  Put the community’s motivations first.
  5. Successful SM will connect to something people are already passionate about.  Figure out what it is first.

I could go on, but you get the idea 😉

Links & Info

Here are our decks on slideshare:

MotiveQuest SlideShare

You already read Groundswell – which I think is a really good book on this subject – here is my review of Groundswell.

Peter Kim @ Mashable: List of Social Media Marketing Examples

Another good one with lots of comments from Peter Kim: What is Social Media Marketing

Chris Brogan: A good Blog on social media marketing – pretty PR focused.

Jeremiah Owyang – analyst for Forrester has good coverage of SM but heavy on tools: Web Stratgy by Jeremiah

And finally, a really interesting and different social media execution: Layer Tennis – watch a match and you will get it – be sure to click thru the volleys.


Take a look at the results the CS3 launch was a HUGE success for Adobe (and their agency – Goodby).

CS3 Launch

CS3 Launch

Call me if you have any questions or would like to discuss further –



6 Responses to 5 Things about Social Media

  1. Definitely all excellent points, Tom! I think that the relationship aspect is the most important & I appreciated how the book, Groundswell ended on that note. It’s not about campaigns or the technology.

  2. I would add along with putting the community’s motivation first…respecting the culture of the community. There is nothing worse than disregarding the way a community is wired and coming in like gangbusters with only your own mission is mind. I’ve seen it. It’s a disaster. Online communities can be quite unforgiving. So, don’t underestimate community culture.

  3. Good point, Angela. It really is challenging, from a cultural standpoint, for companies accustomed to top-down management to create communities that thrive with bottom-up emergence. It’s hard for some organizations to tolerate the ambiguity of “fuzzy” value they may or may not get from resources they can’t control.

  4. […] I ran across this interesting post today by Tom O’Brien at Movie Quest. Here’s a key highlight from 5 Things About Social Media:: […]

  5. A.BILE says:

    And adding to point 3: not only you need C level approval and support but you need them to trust the team in charge of social media. C levels need to delegate and need not to validate every single posting. This might require a change in more than one company.
    😉 Great article!

  6. […] I ran across this interesting post today by Tom O’Brien at Movie Quest. Here’s a key highlight from 5 Things About Social Media:: […]

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