Yesterday marked one month since I joined the team at Path Interactive, so I figured it is high time to drop in and say hello. Hi. I’m Phil Putnam, the new social media guy at Path. I’m a Leo. I adore ice cream. I make music. I keep a tight relationship with my iPhone, my MacBook Pro has a name, and I picked my two-tone eyeglass frames specifically to coordinate with my prematurely gray hair. Those are the essentials; the rest, we’ll learn along the way.
When presented with the opportunity to join Path and help grow our social media efforts, I was thrilled because I genuinely love social media and believe in its value for business marketing. My baptism-by-Like into social media marketing came years ago via my work in the independent music industry, a market composed of consumers who are reticent to buy a product that they could easily steal instead, and independent musicians who are consistently poor, sales-resistant, and driven to sell digital products to fans across a digital distance. Really, it’s a blast. After a decade of social media education, educating, and twee Emo bandsinsisting that spamming is awesome because it takes less time, my philosophy on how to do this social media thing has formed around the most critical and easily forgotten piece of the puzzle: the people.
(For those who don’t know Emo,Emo was Hipster before Hipster was Hipster. Swap the jet black a-symm hair and piercings for a thrift store cardigan and a pixie friend named Mae, and your transformation is complete.)
I’m always the guy in the strategy meeting saying, “but what about the user? What about their experience?” When the CEO asks why marketing money should be spent online, I say “Because it’s where the people are.” This people-focus was a novel thought about 7 years ago when traditional business minds thought MySpace (remember MySpace?) was just for musicians and bullying, and it’s still relevant today now that Facebook has become a staple business tool for brands of any size. Companies have flooded into social media marketing channels over the past year because it’s where their competitors are, and it holds an untapped consumer base, and “Find us on Facebook” is on every ad and movie trailer and radio spot. Those are valid motivations, but chasing your competitors to a new pot of gold is not the same as entering the social media conversation because it’s where the people are.
Time and again, I’ve seen that successful social media efforts recognize that people use social media not to be customers, but to be people.
That’s my beat, and that’s what I’m looking forward to contributing here at Path Interactive.