The Best Way To Scale Social Media? Use TV. And Vice Versa.

One of the biggest complaints about Social Media is how difficult it is to scale.  Sure, your Twitter feed may have a thousand followers, but aren’t those people likely to already be in your brand’s camp?  And what exactly do you do with them, besides, you know, be social about your brand and stuff?  It’s way too micro, too one-to-one.  It’s simply not scalable unless you happen to be that allegorical advertiser with a million monkeys typing on a million socially-networked Dell computers…

No, what’s scalable is aggregating a big, whomping audience around one cool, memorable thirty second TV spot.  Television is scalable–that’s long proven.

Unfortunately, those big, whomping audiences are increasingly rare in today’s hyper-proliferated media world.  People simply don’t gather in one place anymore.  But they’re doing that right now.  And they did it last Sunday.  The Winter Olympics and the recent Super Bowl have drawn huge television audiences.  One reason for this resurgence in the most traditional of mediums?  Social media.

In an article for Advertising Age, John Rash posits that one of the reasons why the Vancouver Olympics are drawing an audience that’s 25% larger than four years ago in Turin could be the effect of tweets and Facebook updates.  The “I got it first” nature of so many social network messages, particularly when they concern an event or a personality, can actually drive larger audiences to the television.  Given a reminder, lots of us would like to catch a glimpse of Lindsey Vonn’s downhill gold or Shaun White’s latest halfpipe innovation, thus re-aggregating an audience around specific events.  And it is better watching it on television, particularly if you have one of those HD big screens that had such huge price drops last Holiday season.

Events like the Super Bowl or the Olympics get everyone talking, but most advertisers don’t need everyone; they just need large like-minded groups.  Integrating and encouraging messages on social media that drive traffic to television events large or small can clearly serve that purpose.

Media scalability is still very much possible.  Chances are, you’ve been experiencing it personally these past few weeks.  It’s not about any one medium; it’s about integrating multiple mediums.

Want to aggregate an audience?  Aggregate your media messages.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


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