Social Media—Long Tails and Legs

By the time you have gotten halfway through this blog post, 24 hours of video will have been uploaded to YouTube. Read slow, and it’s more like 48. Not bad for a concept that just turned six in May.

The number of searches using the Youtube search bar comes in second only to Google. But since Facebook beat out Google as the number 1 most visited site in the year 2010, does that mean Facebook might win the ‘number of searches’ contest, too?

No need to split hairs, here. The clear winner is social media. So what does that mean to you?

It depends. If you look forward to regular Twitter breaks in your day to catch up with the people you follow, or if you enjoy reading wall posts on Facebook about people you don’t even know, you are probably the one waving the social media banner at your company.

But if you find yourself saying things like “Why do I care about what my best friend from high school is having for dinner?” and you’ve been tasked with getting up to speed on social media, you probably aren’t too happy about it.

Most likely, you fall somewhere in between.

The Long Tail

But here’s the deal. Like it or not, I think we can all agree that there is one aspect of social media that trumps traditional marketing. Well-written content populated with just the right key words is evergreen.

Multiple searches—over multiple years—will keep bringing your content back in front of your customer. Over and over. And there’s no charge for stocking content on your ‘eShelf.’ It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

It’s the long tail.

In his Social Media Bootcamp presentation, John Larsen of Splash Media used some good visuals to compare social media and traditional platforms:


Facebook > High school yearbooks on steroids
LinkedIn > Rolodexes
Twitter > Telegrams
Blogs > Digital magazine articles


Give some thought to how much effort it took to send a single telegram to a single recipient. (At least, how it looks when they do it in old movies). Or the number of times since graduating high school that you’ve opened your yearbook. And remember passing along a magazine to share with one or two people?

Social media adds legs to a marketing campaign. And in our latest report on eMarketing, we found that scientists are for the most part OK with you joining in on the conversation. Leave a comment–let us know how YOU feel about suppliers using social media to reach out to scientists.

From eMarketing to Life Scientists: Raise Your Voice Above the Noise, page 1-6, published February 28th, 2011.