On the Web everybody has the opportunity to be a spokesperson. It’s how you use this fact that determines a marketing program’s efficacy.
What’s the Idea? readers know that unlike Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, who in their excellent book Groundswell suggest 6 different social computing profiles (creators, critics, collectors, etc.), I focus on only two: Posters and Pasters. Posters are spokespeople. Pasters amplify them. Posters write about products, services and trends. Pasters share those links. Posters have followings, influencing people they don’t know. Pasters have link buddies, most of whom they do know.
Taking advice from someone you know or with credentials you trust is and has long been the key to successful commerce. If that advise is well-crafted and convincing, so much the better. That is why targeting Posters with your social media effort is a business-winning strategy.
Social Media Briefs
Good social media programs target Posters, but are considerate of Pasters. Writing a brief for a social program, my targeting takes account of both. For the Poster the idea has to be salient selling. For the Paster it just has to make them a trusted, fun and/or thoughtful poker (to steal a word from Facebook.) If the brief can not accomplish both, then don’t force the Paster side of the equation, let it be.
On TV, you can pick your spokespeople. On the web you can’t. Simplify your brand claim, make the proof points powerful and memorable, and manage it. Don’t poop out an off-strategy message in the hope that consumers will turn into creative directors. Peace!