We're soon going to celebrate 10 years of social media marketing. It's a short history, but a grand one. Unfortunately, it isn't well documented. What was the very first social media marketing campaign? Was it the first bloggers' outreach campaign? Was it the very first MySpace promotion for a band?

The thing is that even if it's tough to clearly define the history of social media, there's a sort of before and after momentum. If we had to summarize this tipping point, it would be when our industry really became an industry:

  • the phase when major brands and agencies invested in social media monitoring solutions
  • the phase when start-ups like BuddyMedia or Agorapulse offered automatized and centralized content and people management interfaces

I actually miss a lot of things from the before years.

We used to be far more relevant.

We did not have the right tools to perfectly segment digital influencers, so we were relying a lot on intuition and curiosity.

Social media analysts used to read a lot of blogs; they knew the community they were trying to engage with. And they needed to do so, because the fear of a massive backlash was always present in mind. In these years, 30 bloggers could defeat the most famous brand on Earth. We had a responsiblity in what we were saying and delivering.

We thought about deep subcultures, not mainstream bingo.

The recent Royal Baby topic is a fantastic example on how brands are non original and non relevant; I mean Coca Cola, do you seriously think we're going to care if you diffuse a visual on Facebook of two cans of Coke with the name Will and Kate? Like tons of other brands did? Does it really mean something? Do your fans really follow you for this sort of thing? Unless these contents are created for another advertising competition, who knows...

 

The most interesting comments are probably these ones

Ruin Carroll: Who are Wills and Kate and why do they want my Coke? Are they poor?
Luke Fenton: I'm not sharing a coke with them. They already share a good old cut of my payslip each month.

In the before years, we used to have this obsession for value added; we were in consumers' shoes and we were trying to promote a certain humility in our job. We were not sending releases after American Superbowl to say how many people we've reached with a tweet. In these years, we were not comparing social media marketing to GRP.

Direct marketers hated us, and we hated them, too!

We used to hate the fact that ad agencies were a billing business not a social or technology business. Today, a lot of new school social media marketers want to bring our industry to billing value chain; but without the knowledge nor assets of direct marketers. I can now understand why they now not only hate us, but also make fun of us!
 
Ha, old school social media: I miss you so much.