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The Rejection Rule

Creating social media campaigns often generate scores of ideas. How do you delineate the winners from the losers? I start with a primary rule to reject errant campaign ideas.

This rejection rule focuses on public audiences: Will the community like this idea and act upon it? Specifically, will they care enough about the concept to talk about it, share it, create content for it, and yes, possibly even consider buying services from the company?

This is a messaging filter. Social media forced corporate communications to evolve because it embraced authentic conversations that people cared about. People — customers, partners and outliers alike — had grown resistant to corporate messaging, most of which blatantly promoted corporate interests, but rarely engaged people in matters of interest.

Corporate communicators had to embrace the conversations. As time progressed, while we all had fun with talking toothpaste for a while, social media ROI became a top concern for companies. So did scaling.

Inbound or content marketing became a top priority for Internet marketing. With it came cries for corporate journalism. Why? Because content and the incredible amount of social media posts used to promoted suffer from over-messaged sales pitches.

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Social Still Revolves Around People

Rejection Rule - Social Media Campaigns Revolve Around People

Like it or not, social media still revolves around people. It does not matter how many followers it may have or the amount of native advertising a company purchases. And if a campaign cannot speak to the people then it will fail.

In the end, while companies have moved well beyond the conversation as a focus of their online communications, it is still the cornerstone of successful social media. Content and community alike need to entertain and/or be useful to the people they serve.

Too often campaigns are created to appease an internal stakeholder or a department that believes it needs to deliver a message. Yes, companies need to communicate to achieve sales and promote their products. No, they cannot do so overtly.

Corporate communicators must endeavor to bridge the gap and build communication campaigns that speak to both their audiences while achieving internal needs. Campaigns have to be designed to create conversations that are relevant to the business and the stakeholder alike. And communicators must fight and do everything within reason to reject campaigns that do not achieve stakeholder value.

It’s more than just resources communicators should be concerned about. Each bad communication also taxes the community’s good will, causing them to tune out and look upon brands as spamming mechanisms. In this sense, PR must follow its North Star and always seek to achieve a better relationship between company and customer rather than yield to short-sighted internal pandering.

What do you think?

Image: Todd Huffman (Creative Commons), Geoff Livingston

About Geoff Livingston

Geoff is president and founder of Tenacity5 Media, a digital marketing agency that provides content marketing and social media services. A former journalist, Geoff continues to write, and has authored five books. Follow him @geoffliving.

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