A question came up on Twitter today, courtesy of @BethHarte: is social marketing scalable? Sure, it’s nice to interact directly with customers and prospects. But past a certain point, doesn’t it change from one-to-one into one-to-many communication? And isn’t that Old Marketing through New Channels?
I thought about the same question last week when reading the NY Times’ article on Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis. His job: make people dance. He’s an enthusiastic participant, dancing and interacting with hundreds during the course of the night. But he’s entertaining thousands. Past a point, his participation doesn’t scale. How does the party keep growing?
Because he goes beyond participation to facilitation. He doesn’t just dance with everyone he possibly can. He creates an environment where everyone dances with everyone else. To coin a snowclone, facilitation is the new participation. As I tweeted to Beth, I can’t dance with everyone at the party, but I can throw such a great party that they dance with each other.
What does that mean for social marketing? Well, participation is still table stakes. You have to be willing and able to interact with your customers and prospects on their terms and platforms: twitter, blog comments and groups on social networking sites as well as your own platform (if you have one).
But you have to go further. What do you do to enable them to interact with each other? A good host facilitates communication by creating an environment conducive to it: social objects to discuss (music, art, anything), social lubricants where needed (alcohol or similar), seeding the party with people willing to talk. Are you setting up your social marketing program to get customers talking to and sharing information with each other?
I’ve got my thoughts but I want to know your thoughts: what platforms are good for this? What platforms enable participation but can’t scale to the next level without facilitation?
Photo by Gwen