Forbes pick the best social idea of all time

In 2010, we witnessed several very visible social media campaigns. They drew tons of conversations for a while and stopped.

Under the radar, there are silent social media strategies that have kept going for years and are very social.

Back in August, after PG’s Old Spice ground-breaking success, Forbes picked their best ever social media campaigns.

If you’ve not seen the list, there’s really no surprise. They’re all blockbusters. They all come from Big brands with big media budgets.

I argue that Forbes is missing a big point. Dustin and Tom make some very good points around the risk of making those campaigns examples that all marketers should try and follow.

The point missed is that social media is about networks, relationships, people to people. The social component trumps the media one in it (it’s the new piece). Indeed, social media will alter marketing budgets and salaries will start to replace media buy as brands are stepping up to it.

The Forbes list contains campaigns that are social on the surface but not much more than that. Good old style campaigns with a coat of shiny social glaze on top.

A social media campaign should take advantage of the networks, the relationships, the people.

Of course, it’s  less visible, it takes more time to build but the effect will be long lasting as networks and relationships are there to stay. They are sustainable.

Examples that come to my mind are defunct Sun Microsystems’ thousand of bloggers, IBM’s thousand of twitterer…which provide the foundation for social campaigns to unfold slowly following the natural path of influence between the brands and its ecosystem.

Last, for smaller brands, the kind of examples shown by Forbes are totally out of reach. However, a well thought out social strategy that leverages employees and advocates networks can be done.

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