the best social marketing is interesting content

Earlier in the month, I tweeted to a friend:

gregstevens Greg Stevens
@trevorarmel I’ve literally had a “web presence” since the year Justin Bieber was born. Scary stuff.

Literally moments later a total stranger tweeted me a link with some kind of scandalous news story about Justin Bieber. (It has since been removed.) And I thought to myself, “There is no power in this world that would get me to click on this obviously spam link in this obviously automatically-generated tweet.”

Earlier today, I tweeted:

gregstevens Greg Stevens
Cold mornings make me just want to do nothing and lay in the bathtub. Well, with my Kindle…… and my Iphone…….

Moments later, I get a tweet from another stranger:

gwenAndersen726 gwen Anderson
@gregstevens Amazon Kindle vs kindle 2 reader? Differences in form are more evident than the functionalities

Because of the timing, I knew that it was obviously an automated tweet based on my previous mention of the Kindle. But, the description looked like it had something interesting to say, so…. gingerly, almost shyly… I clicked on it. It turned out, there was no analysis, no in-depth review, no blog post at the other end of the link. It just sent me to the landing page via a tracking URL. Of course. Bounce rate = 100%.

But this got me thinking, a really smart marketer would take it to the next level. If they were really good, they would actually create a shill blog with a “review of the kindle” somewhere, which outlined features and compared them across products. They could do it in a way that clearly highlighted the awesomeness of whatever product they were selling, but do it in a way that actually has useful, interesting content. That would be more likely to drive purchases rather than just clicks.

This made me think of this XKCD strip:

XKCD: Constructive
I don’t really know what I can add to that brilliance. “Social marketing” is still largely seen as using social media as a means for placing advertising. But the soul of social media is user-generated content. The better social marketing gets, the more it will evolve to be indistinguishable from other social content.

Because in the social media world, the best marketing is nothing more than intelligent, useful and interesting content.