Hi there. I'm Matt. Don't hate the player. Hate the game.1

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May 18, 2010 | Comments

Over a year ago, I wrote that “no one wants to be a friend of laundry detergent.” It marked my beginnings as a social media skeptic, that social media isn’t something to be frameworked or strategized. Within 2 months, I unsubscribed from the social media gurus and divorced myself from the subject.

To my chagrin, work immersed me in social media again. I’m memorizing case studies and quoting Facebook stats.

I did learn one thing.

Lesson #1 of #1: studying social media “strategy” is a time warp back to b-school. Like a scientist re-learning the scientific method, social media strategy is about re-hashing basic marketing principles, no different than those espoused by the fathers of marketing 50 years ago.

“Create a message worth sharing”
“Set your social media goals.”
“Measure. Test and learn.”
“Build long-term relationships”
“Listen to your customers.”

It’s the same shit as before, but somehow more inspirational when juxtaposed against terms like Facebook, Twitter, and “fail.” We’ve become pontificators of marketing 101.


The gurus preach that the big companies “don’t get it.” But it’s not the sacred laws of social media that brands overlook, but rather the fundamentals still widely ignored. Test and Learn. Setting goals. Customer-focus.

Which is fine–expectations are much too high. Brands are judged before a social media inquisition if their Facebook page sucks more than poster-child Zappos.

Marketing has a bell curve–most companies create average marketing and achieve average results. Your typical brand isn’t a part of the marketing elite. Why do we expect a brand’s approach to social media to be any different?

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  1. God damn it, yes!!

    I thought I was just unimaginative when I started studying social media and I was like, “Wait… I don't see how a good social media strategy is any different from a good marketing strategy. There's… nothing fancy here. Maybe a few added metrics about who shares what and how they got there… but… it's still the same things basically.”

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