Social Media – Taking The (3) Ps

This is what happens if you follow links. You end up confronted with stuff that you really didn’t want to see – nasty, horrible, hessian, hippy mojambo that elevates nonsense to an art form. Here is a link to it. Go ‘click’ if you dare.

It’s an ‘article’ (I’m being generous here) entitled “How to build conversations in social media using the 3 P’s (sic)’. It uses an ice-cream parlour as a metaphor (and no, dear blog snorkellers, it is not a good one). The three Ps are (ready?):

  • Passion
  • Planning
  • Promotion

(At this point, I’d like to draw a parallel withe four Ps of marketing – product, promotion, price, placement – nice solid Ps that end in an S. S for sales, chaps, S for sales. Unlike these wishy-washy, unsatisfactory and ultimately, given the media, unimplementable, wee Ps of conversation.)

Let’s ignore Passion for a moment. No-one knows what it means anyway. It’s like ‘quality’. Define ‘quality’. Anyone?

Planning – we’re told it’s important, apparently, to keep the conversation relevant to your business goals. An uncontrolled discussion is of no use. Hello? Social media = uncontrolled, I’d have thought. If I had a unit of Earth currency for every time that I’ve been laughed at by slightly disturbing social media evangelists for wanting to control the message, then I’d be driving a decent sports car by now. And if you can’t control the message – as the socialists tell me – then how can you control the conversation?

Promotion – no-one will find your conversation unless you promote it. Obviously, you’re using your conversation to promote your business. So you’re involved in promoting the promotion of your business. Why not cut out the middleman and just promote your business directly? Do traditional marketing channels require that you promote them? Does anyone advertise their advertising? No, of course not.

We’re shoehorning here people. Shoehorning. This is another example of taking the Next Big Thing and desperately trying to find a way of making it work in a commercial sense.

My current thinking is that social media does have a commercial value – the 7m plus fans of Starbucks must drink at least some coffee, and there must be incremental coffee sales to be had off of Facebook. The point is that no matter what you do, you cannot harness it, and it will bite you as soon as lick you. There are no rules, no acronyms, no strategies – it’s luck, serendipity, happenstance and chancing to create something interesting enough for people to want to view or interact with it.

It seems a hell of a gamble to put some or all (like PepsiCo – $20m diverted from the Superbowl) of your marketing budget into social media on the off-chance.

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