New Holiday Tradition: The “One Fruitcake” Theory of Social Media Marketing

I first published this recipe last year, and judging by my long tail traffic numbers, folks seemed to enjoy it.  So I’ve decided to make it an annual holiday tradition.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even accomplished chefs are always on the lookout for new and exciting dishes. New techniques and novel applications of classics. Interesting ingredients and unexpected combinations. All in the service of surprising and delighting customers, and advancing the profession.

Sadly, social marketing bloggers seem content to warm up the same basic dish over and over again, just seasoned and garnished a bit differently.

It is said that Johnny Carson first posited that there is actually only one fruitcake in the world; it’s just passed around a lot. You see where I’m going with this…

The basic recipe for a blog post on how to be successful in social marketing:


  1. Generalized invocation of social marketing’s importance
  2. Quote by social media and/or marketing “guru” (preferably Chris Brogan or Seth Godin)
  3. Statistics on blog readership and the number of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn subscribers
  4. Authenticity bullet point
  5. Listening bullet point
  6. “Join the conversation” bullet point
  7. “Content is King” bullet point
  8. Thought leadership bullet point
  9. SEO bullet point
  10. ROI bullet point
  11. Reference to parties who “get it” (i.e. enlightened heroes) and/or “don’t get it” (i.e. willfully ignorant objects of pity and derision who need your help and mentorship)
  12. Links to reporters, association execs and conference planners you want to suck up to
  13. Warning about the perils of not embracing social marketing
  14. Local seasoning (e.g. reference to the intended audience’s specific challenges/opportunities)

Cooking instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Whip into a froth
  3. Serve — over and over again.

Come on “Top Social Media Chef” wannabes, here’s a “quickfire” challenge for you: Reinterpret this bland staple of social marketing blog posts and make a signature dish.

6 Ways Social Media Marketing for Law Firms Is Like Joining a Gym

[youtube]As I’ve chronicled before, there seems to be one basic blog post about how to succeed in social media marketing, and most bloggers are content to warm up the same basic recipe over and over again, repackaged and passed along like the proverbial Christmas fruitcake. So I thought I’d try my hand at a different approach, more attuned to the national mania for diet and fitness fads.

  1. Before you start, decide on your goals. Your fitness goals — weight loss, strength, conditioning, body shaping — determine the exercises, equipment, settings, frequency and effort levels that are best for achieving them. Similarly, your marketing objectives — direct leads, website and blog traffic, Twitter followship, LinkedIn connections, speaking opportunities — determine the best social media platforms, content distribution models and networking tactics to utilize.
  2. Joining a fancy gym doesn’t help if you don’t go. Once the contract is signed, you’ve been shown how to operate the equipment, and the recurring monthly charges kick in, blog hosting companies — like fitness clubs — generally don’t care whether you show up regularly or not. Which leads to my next point…
  3. If you have trouble with motivation, consider hiring a trainer. Neither fitness trainers nor marketing and communications consultants do the work for you. Their value derives from planning your workouts, keeping you engaged and motivated, coaching you on form and technique, tracking your progress, and adjusting your routine for continual improvement.
  4. You generally get better results with high reps (frequent posts) at lower weights (shorter posts). 
  5. Maintain a sensible, balanced routine. It can’t be all blogging or all Twitter. Mix it up; work different social muscles.
  6. If you’re not seeing results or you’re skipping the gym for long periods, quit, and rejoin when you’re motivated to recommit. Odd thing is, we usually don’t. We just let that “low” monthly recurring charge ride because we believe that we’ll get back into the routine soon. And if you do decide to quit — or to set up a home gym (WordPress) — don’t let the membership director (blog host account executive) prey on your low self-esteem, either.