Ad Age Article Touts “Jersey Shore” As the Peanut Butter of Social Media

For better or worse, social media is all about sharing and “spreadable content,” and while MTV’s controversial series “Jersey Shore” reinforces racial stereotypes and bad bronzing, it is undoubtedly the Jif of spreadability. Just ask Ilya Vedrashko, whose agency created social experiment site “Jerzify Yourself,” (complete with fist-pumping while it loads) where users simply upload a JPEG, endure a little poofing, juicing and self-degrading and voila — your Guido or Guidette alter-ego emerges ready to beat the beat and adopt the GTL lifestyle!

Vedrashko found that the site received traffic from nearly as many reshares as direct clicks, proving that with spreadability, the mouse is mightier than the sword (or in this case, the original site). So, social media leans on influential “sharers,” the mavens of Youtube, Twitter, Gawker and all those other treasure troves of always entertaining and often informative content. But what does this mean for businesses entering the social media arena — is their content equally spreadable, or does all that corporate speak and roundabout sales pitching create bumps in the road (or chunks in the peanut butter)?

We’re no “Jerzify Yourself,” but from what we’ve seen, there are two stratas in social media: the funny and the informative — and they very rarely overlap. Understand that funny often takes precedence (especially in the teens  to late 20’s demographic), but people will still come to you if you have some news to give, some expert opinions to share and maybe even something entertaining to post. Just stick to what you know works and tread lightly into what you don’t. And whatever you do, stay away from the “juice” and self-bronzer!

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Streamlining Your Social Media Communications

As our firm expands our own social media capabilities for our clients, we’ve gathered some pointers for a seamless shift into an area of communications that sometimes proves sticky for organizations. Check out these simple tips to help you connect with key stakeholders:

1)   Start from one source. Frantic over Facebook posts? Terrified of Twitter? Before you jump straight into either, set up a “dashboard” program like HootSuite, which lets you monitor and post to each account simultaneously. This also helps simplify how you analyze audience response with built-in analytics like URL trackers.

2)   Limit the number of voices. Ideally, an organization should only have one point source for communication.  For many organizations, though, their very nature may call for multiple information channels, like our work with the Congaree Vista Guild, which requires across-the-board messaging as well as coordination with guild members for individual promotions like tweeting Motor Supply Company’s daily specials (watermelon gazpacho — yum!) or posting a link to Trustus Theatre’s grant competition on the Vista Facebook page. At the end of the day, every post and example still comes from a singular, professional perspective and reinforces the Vista Guild’s position as Columbia’s premiere arts and entertainment district.

3)   Fold in, rather than fluff up, the media. Journalists stay on the search for good leads, but they use social media, well, socially. Instead of singling them out to bombard with great story ideas, focus on building relevant relationships with the media and leading them to content that speaks for itself. Also, embrace more visual and audio elements (especially for broadcast journalists), like a snapshot of the lunch crowd or a quick how-to video on oil painting.

4)   Toss the numbers. Ok, peek at them first. Click-through rates help you see how well your posts relate to your followers and numbers of new fans let you know if you even have followers! Once you’re past these preliminaries, though, your social media strategy should focus on quality that leads to quantity. No one’s going to tell their friends to follow the company that posts two-page press releases each week.

With those tips in mind, feel free to break the rules and find your own solutions. Social media is all about melding the medium to your audience’s needs—whether that’s weather (literally), daily menu posts or links to in-depth industry analysis—and sparking constant, candid conversation.