Will Social Media End Sarah Palin’s Ambitions?
January 12, 2011 2 Comments
[tweetmeme source= “brennels” only_single=false] Few have harnessed the power of social media like Sarah Palin, and as a marketer this type of activity is a dream. However, could it also be her undoing? This is the question. I am not going to discuss our first amendment rights, or engage in the recent political debate. But I do think it is interesting the role that social media is playing in this media frenzy, and how Sarah Palin’s name is forever associated with crosshairs on the internet. I heard on the radio last night that “Sarah Palin Crosshairs” was ranked #1 in Google search. When I went and looked for myself I found even if you search just Sarah Palin, “Sarah Palin Crosshairs” appears on top as a “related search” and also appears in position 12 organically. I think it is pretty clear that Sarah Palin was trying to appeal to her base and nothing else when this political map was created and the infamous “reload” tweet was posted. But circumstances have changed. People have been killed. And the result is Sarah Palin’s name and the terms “Crosshairs” and “Arizona” have been linked forever online.
So, how does this happen?Well, it starts with a tweet. Because of the tragic circumstances in Arizona a fierce debate began online regarding “violent rhetoric”. Thousands of tweets and blog posts were created questioning if statements made by political pundits were associated to this tragic event. Unfortunately for Sarah Palin she did post a Facebook political map, with what were described as “crosshairs”, stating “Don’t get demoralized. Get organized!”, then this tweet referring to her Facebook page.
Regardless if you think the association was right or wrong, the discussion happened. And because the discussion happened, thousands if not millions of people chimed in with tweets, re-tweets, comments, cross posts, and all the things that social marketers dream. The online activity about these search terms and posts increased in Google rank and will perpetuate organically. What I find ironic, and what most don’t know about search marketing is that those who are fiercely defending these statements are only perpetuating the conversation, and increasing the awareness, traffic and Google search relevancy.
If you are a political pundit it isn’t uncommon to rally your base with inflammatory statements, but this type of tragic event isn’t exactly something you want associated with your name. In the B2B marketing world when something negative is assocaited to your brand you politely engage and ask if you can help and then take the conversation offline and let the online conversation die. This would be my recommendation for these pundits who are struggling to address this conversation but it may be too late for that. Timing is everything when it comes to addressing issues and if your initial reaction is to not react it will only hurt you in the long run.
Reputation is everything in the world of Social Media. For us “SocMed Heads” we continually monitor and protect our information and measure what we say and or what is said about us. Social media is like being at a wedding with 6 Billion people so there is always going to be someone who says something stupid and doesn’t care but it is up to us as individuals to act like our parents taught us, responsible and respectful of others.