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September 16th, 2008

The Push & Pull of Social Media

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Alright, so despite efforts by some to paint and position social media work as radically new and different, if you take a minute to strip things down, there are still traditional marketing mechanics underlying most social media programs — much of which can be distilled down to simple push-pull tactics.

Push tactics are all about, well, pushing a story out to the marketplace.

Push tactics tend to generate a lot of attention and discussion, unfortunately it’s not always the right kind. These are your A-typical proactive pitch tactics. Placement tactics. Sometimes response tactics too.

I think it’s the comfort of something that seems familiar (i.e., media relations) that attracts and compels PR folks to think about social media activities in this mode first and label them such (e.g., “blogger relations,” “influencer outreach,” etc) — be that, you know, for better or worse. And in all fairness, push tactics, when well executed, can be very effective. The problem is that push tactics require a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources and alone can only move the needle so much. Pull tactics, on the other hand, focus on all the ways we use content and the web to pull attention and discussion in.

Publishing content, be that via a blog, microblog, video, audio, or otherwise, is a popular pull tactic. The quality, value and placement of the content basically encourages people to discover and engage with it (and with you, the company) on their own terms. It also enables you to tell your company’s story directly, on your terms, free of media interpretation, filtering and bias — and that’s a very powerful thing.

And the truth is, you need both push and pull tactics to round out any social media program, but in much the same way push tactics shaped and defined traditional PR media work the last, oh, century or so, I think pull tactics — especially publishing — will be increasingly what shapes and defines industry work on the web moving forward. It’s definitely where my head’s at these days; definitely where more news will come from me and others later this year….

[Cross-posted on Media Guerrilla]

About the Author
Mike Manuel is the GM of Voce Connect, the social media marketing and web development arm of Voce Communications. In between managing this team and overseeing Voce's digital programs, he'll post a thought or two on mike-manuel.com and via @mmanuel on Twitter.

Filed in Blogging, Public Relations, Social Media

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