Social Media – Revisiting the Fish Theorem

Today I’m revisiting the Fish Theorem of Social Media which my regular readers (ahahahahahahahaha….sorry – and welcome to the Blog That Nobody Reads) will know as my own home-brewed analogy for the impact of social media communications strategies vs traditional media communications strategies. I am prompted to do this by a small success that the team and I had this morning, which just a) made me think again about the effectiveness of social media campaigns and b) made very happy indeed, because there is – simply put – nothing like coverage.

In brief – because I’m not going to make you do clickety on a link (you might never come back) – the Fish Theorem goes something like this. Social media communications strategies are like fishing with a rod and line. There’s a lot of standing around, while you wait for the fish to pluck up the confidence to approach your lure. Then you strike! If you’re lucky, you end up with exactly the type of fish you want on your hook and you’re free to have a meaningful conversation with it (OK, this analogy isn’t perfect, I know). However – and here’s the thing – if your lure’s not attractive enough, or if you strike too soon, then all the fishies scatter and there’s little chance you’ll see them again.

Traditional media communications strategies are more akin to fishing with dynamite. Splash – BLAM! Fish everywhere. OK, they probably aren’t all the right kind of fish, and you’ll be lucky to get anything meaningful in the way of conversation out of them – but there will be lots and lots of them. And a fair proportion will be the fish you wanted.

So. In previous posts, I talked about Sony Ericsson’s digital only ‘phone launch (5,500 hits in six hours). I also (I think) mentioned Pepsi Raw (Twitter, 515  followers). (I didn’t talk about Coca-Cola on Facebook with 3.5 million friends, but that’s because it doesn’t suit my argument. And also because, technic’ly, it’s a page for the people, by the people, without any (much) input from Coca-Cola. And how the lads and lasses at Coke must hate that.)

Today the team and I achieved a full page in one of these free papers that get given away around the capital. It was achieved on a shoestring (budget about £800) and we got it by providing a story that was genuinely newsworthy, which the paper wanted to print. Yes, it was branded. Yes, it contained key messages.  Yes, it hit 200,000 people (circulation, not readership). Dynamite. Boom.

So the question for today is: are we trying to get too clever in our desperate search for the grail – the answer to the billion dollar question ‘how do we harness social media’ – and is it, actually, that imperative that we find it? Should we not be honing the traditional skills of the communicator – creating and pitching stories that people want to hear about and that the media want to use – for, after all, there’s still massive benefit and value to be gained? Might we actually be in danger of losing the old skills in our desperate rush to acquire new ones, that aren’t even defined yet?

Just a thought.

(Oh, and PS. The capital city in question was Belgrade, and the free newspaper was 24Sata. But, even so – 200,000 people? Result!)

2 thoughts on “Social Media – Revisiting the Fish Theorem

    • Karl

      Thanks for that – I should point out that the £800 also got me coverage in Pregled, Blic, Politika, Pravda and various on-line media – so it wasn’t such a bad investment!

      Oh – and it was editorial soverage, not advertising!


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