Warm bacon instantly makes you hungry while burnt toast erases your appetite. In social media campaigns, it’s the little things that have the biggest, quickest influence.
Over the past eight years, we’ve repeatedly organized low-cost social media efforts that overwhelmed more costly traditional media campaigns. Traditional ad campaigns, like military campaigns, are loud and costly and we see them coming.
Nearly all loud revolutions invite counter-revolutions. Historians marvel at George Washington because he is one of the few revolutionary figures in all of history who overwhelmed all counter-revolutionary attempts.
Washington eclipsed his challengers largely through a large number of little things: like expressing genuine humility (when some of his men were plotting a failed coup) and keeping competitors within his bigger tent.
A thousand points of light can beat the thud of mass marketing. We have a tendency to think one grand argument, a massive report or ad wave will convince people to change their minds. But people tend to change over time, being influenced by a large number of “little things’’ drip-dripping at them from every direction.
The fragmentation of mass media since 2001, has similarly aided the impact of social media. Instead of the massive, frontal assault from slick commercials, we now see far more variations (from seemingly different social sources) coming at us social media, digital marketing and word of mouth.
Social media a game changer for bacon, marriage and Planned Parenthood
The recent changes in public opinion regarding gay marriage and Planned Parenthood are directly related to well-organized social media campaigns. Similarly, the next time you see a social post about bacon, know that bacon sales are growing about 10 percent a year in an era of health consciousness. Efforts to grow sales of bacon are highly visible via social media within small memes, videos and other advocacy efforts.
Years of traditional and more expensive marketing and communications efforts showed far more incremental progress.
In my own eight years of social media campaigns, we’ve grown sales and attendance for clients, won national contests, won statewide elections, changed public opinion on policy issues (like film subsidies), changed legislative votes, influenced regulators with the “little way’’…