I’m starting to repeat myself. We’ve been having very similar conversations about social media with virtually all of our clients over the last eight months or so, the main point being: “You need to start thinking like a media company. Your objective in this fragmented universe should be to build channel.”
That sounds great, but what does it mean?

1. Stop building temporary microsites and spending millions in media dollars to send people there, only to shut it all down (or leave it to wither) when the campaign ends. Attention is an expensive gift – think about how you can recycle it.

2. Who cares if companies like Honda have 2 million app users on Facebook? You should – they can engage with and activate 2 million qualified brand enthusiasts in the future, at virtually no cost.

3. Think like a broadcaster – if someone has spent time and money making channel 14 highly rated, are they going to launch a new channel to air their new show? No – they’re going to piggyback on the money they’ve spent and the eyeballs they’ve attracted. Knowing this, why are you reinventing the wheel every time you have something new to share or talk about?

4. Your plan should be to build permanent real estate (your own and on the social networks of choice for the people you are trying to reach) that can be strategically leveraged to let you connect with the people you want to talk to most and who want to talk to you.

Old habits die hard – we’re all still getting used to the scary fact that social media means millions of consumers are publishers – they no longer require a TV station or newspaper to get their point across to a vast audience. But business needs to take a breath and realize these new rules apply to them as well. This of course requires a re-thinking of where marketing and media dollars go; something that’s a lot more than scary for a whole industry.

“You need to start thinking like a media company. You need to build channel.”


  1. Think like a broadcaster…Yes and no.

    Yes: Think like a broadcaster who has created a channel that it hopes will return to view content. Promote that channel. Fuel the content and make it great.

    No: Do more than a broadcaster. Engage and listen. Make it a feedback channel. Listen. Don’t just send out stuff and hope it sticks. Really work to create content people want to return to and allow them to help you develop it.

  2. Maggie, Your point is well taken. In a recent post on Communispace’s blog, Verbatim, I discussed “Owned Platforms”, in effect private label media. The most compelling example came from, no surprise, Procter & Gamble: “On October 7th, Procter & Gamble with the aid of its Canadian ‘mommy blogger’ community, launched Rouge Magazine a new magazine and online edition, into the US. It’s targeted to 11M households and “beauty-involved females.” The underlying objective is to build a massive database using the information of those that will be engaging with the brand across multiple owned media platforms. Rouge is beyond freemium…it’s chock-a-block with coupons for P&G beauty products”.

    P&G is now expanding it’s owned platforms to other product categories and is using various social media for their 21st century version of the soap opera. Enough said. Cheeers, TM.

  3. I’m not sure I agree on microsites. Engaging users through a social media channel enables you to send them to a microsite to take part in a brand experience of some kind: a contest, promotion, whatever. you build the channel so you can efficiently market to them. isn’t that what “engage and activate means?” in fact you could do “private screenings” of special value add micro sites to your customers on your social media “channel”. your channel does not replace your content or promotion.

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