We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again. This week we launched a fun little experiment called GroupMeh, “a revolutionary, game-changing social network for the tragically apathetic.”
Hyperbole aside, it was a fun side project, inspired by an email thread and launched by Noah King and some other Barbarians in one afternoon. The site has since been picked up in The Daily What, New York Magazine, Laughing Squid and Beta Beat. It chalked up 15,000+ unique visits in 3 days, blowing the doors off nomediaspend.com, which shares the same general philosophy: let the internet do the work.
What is important about this? It reinforces our strong belief that success in social media begins with great creative, strong execution, with a smart earned, distribution plan, optimised on-the-fly.
Without that integration, you have creative being made in a vacuum, divorced from the distribution. You have firms that do PR that have no real say in the idea, handed something and told to “make it famous.” This fact contributes greatly to the rivers of junk floating around the internet, clogging up inboxes and generally being lame.
Some industry commentators, notably Jeremiah Owyang, have recently made the argument that social media boutiques are winning deals away from advertising agencies. But he fails to acknowledge this disconnect.
While we are far different from a traditional agency per se, we do a lot of stuff. Creative, development, strategy, UX, social media, etc. Some might call it full service. But we’d venture to say the ability to take a good idea, build it, get it out and iterate quickly differentiates us not just from “traditional agencies” but also from a lot of narrowly focused boutiques.
Here’s the thing about many social media agencies: they often find themselves in the position of having to polish a turd. You pay them to get the word out about something, but you might not have an actual thing (a “social object” if you will) to talk about. The internet likes to talk about things – cool things, new things, awesome things, shiny things, fun things. Social media agencies don’t make things. They talk about things. They can’t make something cool for you, because they don’t make stuff, and when they try and make stuff, it can be kind of embarrassing and bad like some terrible Flash paper dolls thing or an idea that’s been done a hundred times.
Although, obviously, many “traditional agencies” aren’t there yet, there’s at least a theoretical advantage in using them for your social, because they can work the social against something actually kind of cool that they’ve built. Maybe it’s simply a great spot. Maybe it’s an awesome branded utility. But at least they can make something. Most everyone I know who works at pure social agencies feels this disadvantage. They’re paid to promote, and paid to respond, but can’t actually inject something new into the conversation.
GroupMeh was an example of this. Because we build stuff, we could make something to serve as an anchor for a social conversation. The site was a “social object,” if you will, on which to base the discussion. We gave someone something concrete to talk about and around.
But can you convince clients to do fun stuff like this? Do internal politics often kill good ideas in social media? Well, yes. Of course, sometimes. But we don’t think they have to. Not when there’s a sound strategy, and good planning around it. And often, by having the anchor, the conversations are deeper and more frequent. Thus the stats can justify additional spend on production.