Social media 101: Susan Boyle and the perfect storm

by Steve Seager on May 13, 2009 . Views: 1000

Atmospheric scientists try to create a ‘perfect storm’ to demonstrate and predict the way things work. In many ways, Susan Boyle is a great example of this ‘perfect storm’ for social media. Here’s an extract from wikipedia:

“Social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have been critical in facilitating Boyle’s rapid rise to fame. The most popular YouTube video submission of her audition garnered nearly 2.5 million views in the first 72 hours. On the day following the performance, the YouTube video was the most popular article on Digg. The same video was judged so popular on Reddit that it was put on the site’s main page. Within a week, the audition performance had been viewed more than 66 million times, setting an online record, while on Wikipedia her biographical article attracted nearly half a million page views. A total of 103 million video views on 20 different websites was reached within nine days.”

Social media 101: Susan Boyle and the perfect storm

It’s important to remember here I am talking about the channels for the ‘perfect storm’ – not the content. Thanks to insufferable hype, many people entering social media can’t initially see the distinction between the two. You should. To paraphrase Chris Brogan social media is not a pr tool, it is a communication and content distribution channel.

So what does this tell us? Two things, I think.

First, stop worrying about whether you should consider social media as a valid pr and communications channel. It works. It’s proven. When people comment, watch, and share great content, you can achieve massive brand exposure, brand recall and impact that you can never achieve with mass media.

Second, without great content, social media means nothing. In my experience, understanding that the value of social media lies not in the channel itself, but in the content it distributes, will place you one step ahead of most of your competitors. Many business are still figuring out the channels. Wrong move! Instead, start figuring out what great content is for your business!

Find out what your people – your stakeholders, customers, advocates and critics – want, needs, and are looking for, and give it to them. Distribute it over social media channels. If you are really lucky, you may be headed for the perfect storm!

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