The Hasty Generalization of Social Strategy

There are a lot of self-proclaimed social media experts, gurus and leaders out there.  In addition there are even more who, while not proclaiming an expert status, believe using Twitter for 23 hours a day gives them a certain expertise over the average tweeter.

Most of these people, whether expert by declaration or by usage, are typically tied to the social marketing efforts of their organization.  They are the employees tasked with figured out this social Rubik’s Cube.

…one cannot simply come to a decision on social media marketing strategy by only evaluating a single segment…

They are also the people, peers and counterparts I interact with on a daily basis.  Which is why it is so disheartening to see these so-called ‘experts’  commit the one of the basic logical fallacies…hasty generalization.

Basically, it goes something like this:

Joe Smith only uses Foursquare.  All of his friends also use Foursquare, therefore everyone must use Foursquare.

Too simple right?  Any marketer would know not to jump to such a conclusion.

Then why do so many of our peers continue to justify marketing campaigns with this logic?

In speaking with a counterpart earlier this month, this was the argument presented for Facebook:

I am concerned about privacy.  I see 10-20 privacy posts a day on my wall. Therefore, everyone on Facebook must be concerned with privacy.


I live in the city.  Everyone I know uses Twitter. Therefore, we should focus our city marketing campaign on Twitter.

Yeah, sorry, but no.

Now I certainly realize that the rapid pace of social media marketing limits the amount of research and testing we can conduct before starting a campaign.  And frankly, with such scale (500 million people) a consumer survey to determine if your demo is on Facebook is unnecessary.

However one cannot simply come to a decision on social media marketing strategy by only evaluating a single segment.

Perhaps hasty generalization is why your latest social media marketing campaign did not live up to expectations.

Or maybe you need better friends.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.