On the whole the social media industry is quite insular. Most of us attend the same conferences and talk to each other. We go to the same speaking sessions on the same topics. We tweet at one another and generally all say the same things. So what differentiates us from the next guy? I was reminded of the answer to that yesterday when I read Spike Jones’ post.

The ability to keep it real, as in realistic.

Let’s face it, we’ve all fallen into the trap of over-thinking our work, but I think we can agree that what we do rarely, if ever, requires us to (am I over-thinking this?). This can happen when we try to get too creative, flashy, or flowery. One of my first supervisors used to tell me my writing was too flowery. I was trying too hard. Sometimes simple really is better.

We see this social media overexertion in many of the campaigns that have gone viral recently and also in how many of us are better at talking about what we do rather than showing how we’ve done it. By virtue of what they are these viral campaigns just don’t last. They’re great moments in time, and often very creative, but the buzz they generate isn’t sustainable nor very motivational in getting the customer to the point-of-purchase over and over.

All I’m getting at is that no matter what industry your client(s) operate in, over-complicating the uncomplicated can be detrimental to you, your company and the brands you represent. This isn’t rocket science. Don’t try to dress it up as such.

Here at Voce, we don’t believe in the gimmick. We don’t believe in the one-off viral sensations, or their potential for short-term brand benefit. Are those worthy PR/marketing approaches? Sure. Are they sustainable? No. We’re more focused on the big prize: long-term growth and success, and you don’t do that by going viral.

Here, particularly with our social media work, we look to build sustainable programs, grounded in foundational elements like strong content and two-way, brand-to-consumer and back again interaction. You don’t need to go big to get big in social media. Meat and potatoes is just as filling as a meal from a five-star restaurant you can only afford to eat once.

We work with a great number of great brands like PlayStation, Disney Parks, Plantronics and many more and not once have we ever tried to dress up what we were trying to do in more than consistency and quality. If you’re advising your clients based on what’s best, not what’s next, it’s hard to go wrong.

And, as Spike said, stay true to yourself and keep it simple. I have a hard time finding a counter-argument to that.