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Social Media Campaign: A non sense?

March 25, 2009

For a long time, I’ve been bouncing in my head the appropriateness of the expression social media campaign.

This post from Clay made me want to dig into the origin of the world ‘campaign’.

Campaign comes from the French “campagne” which means ‘open country’.peninsular_campaign

Open Country was the terrain of choice where big armies engaged in combat.
I may be wrong, as I’m in no way a war historian, but I think it’s because it fitted the way war were fought (big armies, big battles for a limited time) and allowed for control of operation (remember those movies where the strategists on both sides sit at the top of some hills and watch through their binocular the ebb and flows of the battle) .

Translated to the world of marketing, big brands have been fighting and firing big $ so far in ‘open country’:

  • Right bar in your Google search
  • Advertising placement on your favorite media.

They kept the control of operation.

Then came social media. It’s not open country anymore. It’s always on. You’re being watched (can’t harm the community). To communicate and participate is a must. Nobody has all control and everybody has some.

It’s people’s life/work/learning experience.

Back to the war analogy (ah.. human nature). They’re now fought more and more in cities. Control is owned by the many communities that make a city. To succeed, armies have to build relationships with people who live there and earn their trust. Their best weapon may be their ability to convince the right locals that the cause they fight for is worth their support and/or little things like helping with infrastructure or the social life at the individual/community level.

Back to social media.

Brands need to blend into people’s life/work/learning experiences.
Influence is the best weapon. They need to make sure the right people write good things about them; When they do, their message travels quickly, at the right time in the right way to the right people, following a natural path of relevance.
Of course with a strategy to manage it and measure it all along but it shouldn’t be called campaign.

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