If I had a euro for every time someone watched my social media guru video…I’d have around €20,000 by lunchtime today. Which would be nice.
Last Thursday I spent 30 minutes writing a script and building a little animation around it using a site called xtranormal.com. The vid took a swipe at the self-proclaimed social media gurus that cling to the internet’s bottom rung. As I’ve said elsewhere, there are plenty of good people offering help to individuals and companies when it comes to their online presence. But for every one of those, there are five socmed hyenas lurking in the shadows. (I am neither, it should be said. I’m a returning hack who has taken 18 months out of a journalism career to run a family business, and is looking to return to freelancing.)
I posted the video here, stuck a version on Youtube, and Tweeted about it. And then things took off. It was re-tweeted (copiously, as the character in the vid says) and ended up on the front pages of a few fairly influential blogs in the social media sphere. By lunchtime today, it should be at around the 20,000-view mark. Not bad for something cobbled together in 30 minutes at zero cost.
The way the video has taken off reiterates its core message. Social media is, for the most part, free and easy to use. If you’re creative with your message, and you can put something together that strikes a universal chord, there’s every chance it will take off and give you coverage beyond your wildest dreams. When everyone’s using the same media, the message becomes all-important.
There are some ‘tricks’ to using social media to best effect, for sure, but there’s no magic circle who own the secrets. For the most part, using social media is the same as anything else – quality makes its mark. Practice makes perfect. Produce the goods and people will take notice. Have faith in your own ability and be prepared to get it wrong before you get it right. (If you need another paragraph of motivational buzzwords call your local social media guru. Please have your credit card details ready.)
The fact that people around the world (Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, London, New York and San Francisco) all claim to ‘know’ the social media guru in my little video shows that the message was clear and universal. No consultants were hired to assist or advise in its production.
Incidentally, I have a pretty good strike rate with slapdash script-writing. The last script I wrote was a ten-minute sketch performed the next day in front of about 400 journalists at the 2005 annual NUJ conference in Scarborough. I wrote a parody of the entire conference, with parts for around ten members of the student delegation, and played the outgoing NUJ president myself. We got a two-minute standing ovation and I was offered a job on the spot.