Social Media Is a Party

Three McLinlock girls at a tea partyAs we develop our new MADskills social media trainer certification program, we’ll be sharing materials that we think might be helpful for the community at large.
At SMEXbeirut, we focus on the strategic use of social media, that is, leveraging blogs, Facebook, and other Internet- and mobile-based tools and applications for achieving a predetermined goal. And after knowing your goal, we tell training participants, you need to define your audience(s). This is always a sticking point, because more often than not we hear, we want to reach the “general public.”
We’ve struggled repeatedly to explain why this doesn’t work on the Web the way it might work with broadcast media like radio and television, but targeting the right audience is more of an art than a science, so it’s hard to prove how it works until you try it yourself. So we kept saying, just trust us, until we figured out how to explain it in terms everyone can understand:

Developing a strong social media presence is like throwing a great party. Social media isn’t an object, like a magazine, it’s an event. Proof: You’d never invite the general public to a barbecue at your house, would you?

The more we thought about it, the more we liked the metaphor, and turned it into a handout to introduce how to think about social media strategically. We’re sharing it here, and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments (Arabic version coming soon):
Social Media is an Event


  1. I really like the metaphor used!
    It is true that people do not just invite the general public to their barbecue; they invite a segment which represents their friends/acquaintances interested in having a barbecue. Same applies to using social media, we need to address our cause to a specific segment of people.

  2. Great analogy. I’ll be quoting you on that! I think maybe in the non-profit world we usually try to reach “everybody” with as few resources as possible. We seek efficiency, but this reminds us that focusing our efforts is much more effective.

  3. I’m glad you both like the analogy. Is there anything you’d add or anywhere you think it falls short? We’re also translating this into Arabic and will post it here very soon!

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