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The Transmitters

Over the past three weeks I’ve had the chance to meet with a number of CMOs. What’s interesting isn’t that they are all doing social, but rather that what they think they are doing actually isn’t social.

At first glance its all very hip and cool. The campaigns are creative. They’ve got Pininterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in cooking. rAnd yeah, they are seducing plenty of followers along the way. But here’s the rub. The fact you are doing all this in social media doesn’t mean you are doing social.

The missing ingredient is real engagement. Not just followers following. Not just viewers viewing.

What they aren’t orchestrating is the conversation that engages consumers up front, and gives them a reason to come back. In fact, there is little thought as to why they might come back and what they might do when they get there. There is little look at how information is really being shared. The majority of links are still shared via good old email, for instance. But because most don’t ahve a formal listening program, they don’t know.

And there is little consideration for the real difference between Facebook and Twitter. Where Facebook is a massive walled garden for social expression, Twitter drives the sharing of signals across the open web – it captures moments and is a critical news feed.

Advertising is a shallow art. Social isn’t. The real measure is depth of conversations over time. Bathing in the shallows is easy. It might buy you some transactional sales. But what it won’t do is build you a vibrant community sustained by vibrant conversations.

The trick is to make the switch from the measures of effective transmission to measures of effective participation.

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