Are you having trouble convincing your managers, executives, or staff of the importance of social marketing strategies? An event ripped from the headlines might help you win arguments.
Blogger Monica Gaudio explained in her blog on livejournal.com that she had been published in a print magazine. Thing of it is, the magazine had published one of Gaudio’s blog posts without asking permission. This is flat out theft according to copyright law.
Gaudio contacted the magazine and received a kind of “in your face” reply. The magazine’s editor suggested Gaudio’s article needed heavy editing and Gaudio should, perhaps, pay for the service. The editor also asserted that all content on the Internet is in the public domain!
Because Gaudio shared this story on her blog, there was a near instantaneous groundswell of reaction from… well, bloggers. Pretty much anyone who publishes content on the Internet knows that unless they state the contrary in print, they own the copyright on their material. But Gaudio’s blog post had gone a step further: the blog page had included a clear statement of copyright.
So, Cooks Source Magazine had flat out stolen Gaudio’s work, and bloggers became angry. The anger went viral: people tweeted links to Gaudio’s report, they posted blog entries and tweeted links to them, they left comments on Facebook pages and tweeted links to them, and they laid siege to Cooks Source’s Facebook page, inundating it with highly critical comments. The information traveled quickly; just two days after the news broke there was a hash tag on Twitter – #buthonestlymonica – that has been very lively (tweets under that hash tag led me to both the video and the spreadsheet I’ve linked to in this blog post). If that’s not enough, there are already several videos addressing the issue on YouTube. This one uses a popular YouTube device to illustrate the main issues, thought it’s more entertaining if you’re familiar with details of the fiasco:
Who became famous overnight? Yes, Gaudio became famous. Also, Cooks Source Magazine and its editor became infamous.
Good Social Marketing Strategies
Stealing people’s property and then writing snarky emails about it are not good social marketing strategies… unless you want a lot of people to focus on what a jerk you are. But that’s not the lesson here. The lesson is that when you touch the right nerve of a social network, the reaction can be explosive. A person or a company can go from obscurity to world-wide notoriety in hours.
One of your social marketing strategies should be to participate in networks that are interested in your message. As your network grows, learn from it and produce material that excites the network. If your blog post, tweet, Facebook status update, video, or podcast touches some nerve just so, it may go viral and create intense interest just as quickly as Monica Gaudio’s blog post managed to. Even if you can’t find something to trigger such a dramatic viral response, you’re likely to interest a few people who participate in your network. These will amplify your message across their own networks and could translate into a surge in inquiries, new sales, or at least in people joining your social circle.
Need More Better Arguments?
Could this example hurt the case you’re trying to make? What business would open itself to the intense scrutiny and criticism it might suffer from such a powerful entity? The answer is an oldie but a goody: If you participate in the social network, you’re likely to see the first whisper of trouble brewing, and you can intercede. Of course, you’ll need to do better than fire off condescending or smarmy notices that dig your company into a deeper hole. On the other hand, if you don’t even know it’s out there, a viral message against your company can do irreparable damage in just a few days.
Footnote: The social network is producing a spreadsheet on Google Docs to track works stolen by and published in Cooks Source magazine. It’s an impressive list, and it’s more impressive that the magazine had not been outed earlier than this past week.