November 30, 2011

My Overnight Social Media Success

On Sunday evening I published a new book on Amazon. On Monday afternoon -- 18 hours later -- it was the 2nd best-selling advertising eBook on Amazon.

How did I do it? Social media.

But wait a minute, Bob. Isn't it you who is always throwing rocks at social media?

Yes, that's the same me.

So, have you changed your mind?

Not a bit.

So, you're a hypocrite?

Hypocrite is the term that people who can't draw distinctions frequently use to describe people who can.  Let me explain.

One of the most irresponsible and universal tricks in the advertising toolkit is what I call "arguing from the extreme." You take the most extreme, unlikely case of something and use it as an example of what you  pretend is commonplace.

I saw it all the time when people used to use "got milk" as a typical example of the efficacy of account planning. Or when they used "Just Do It" to justify their dim "branding" ads. And now they use "Old Spice" as an example of the everyday magical powers of social media. It's like pointing to Kobe Bryant and saying, see, basketball is easy.

My payoff had a little to do with social media and a lot more to do with long-term marketing strategy -- which is the antithesis of most social media schemes.

Here's how I became an overnight social media success.
1. First I wrote and published a book called The Ad Contrarian. This took a couple of years. 
2. Next I started a blog called The Ad Contrarian
3. Then I spent virtually every Saturday morning for five years roughing out ideas for Ad Contrarian blog posts. 
4. For almost five years I spent at least two hours a day -- usually between 3 and 5 am -- writing my blog.

5. I also spent at least an hour every day scouring online and offline sources for blog post ideas. 
6. I wrote several articles for trade publications sticking assiduously to my "Ad Contrarian" POV. 
7. As a result, I developed a nice body of subscribers for my blog. I try to keep it fresh, entertaining, and controversial to attract non-subscribers every day. 
8. Although I have several thousand Twitter followers, I act to maintain credibility by only tweeting about the blog when there is something I believe is unusually interesting in it.

9. To develop credibility among my readers, I have never used my blog to promote my agency. 
10. In order to advance The Ad Contrarian I have traveled frequently to do speaking engagements and never accepted money.
So that's how I achieved overnight success in social media. And that's why social media hustlers infuriate me. Their facile crap, their smug ignorance of real marketing strategy, and their promises of magic make me ill.

And when naive clients tell me they want to do some of that "social media stuff, you know like Twitter and Facebook" -- for which they will assign responsibility to the lowest ranking person in their organization -- I have to leave the room.

I have built a social media brand. I know what it takes. I know how useless most social media bullshit is and how hard the people work who do it right.

Don't use me to argue from the extreme.

No comments: