Vitrue Makes Social Media Software, But Still Doesn’t Get Social

Remember that company Vitrue? I’ll jog your memory – they’re the ones who made the hilariously inaccurate Facebook ROI calculator. They’re also the ones to proclaim a no-better-than-random valuation of a fan on social channels. Despite making social media management software I still don’t think they get social.

Today’s continuing example of their misunderstanding social comes courtesy of their PR firm. Jennifer Jones at Porter Novelli sent me a ping sharing a list Vitrue has drawn up on the “top social media brands of 2010.” Here’s the pitch sent:

Hi Adam –

The Vitrue 100 list has just been released detailing the top social media brands of 2010.

We created this video to help demonstrate the findings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crR9Ve6TdU4

Here is a link to the press release:  http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110107005993/en/iPhone-Continues-Three-Year-Reign-Consumer-Electronics-Dominate

I also have an infographic if you’d like that as well.

Best,
Jennifer

JENNIFER A. JONES
Senior Vice President
Digital Communications Group

This being a blog for communications pros, I frequently share pitches verbatim to highlight everything you do is potentially social, plus continue to share my perspective being on both sides of the media and marketing fence.

Anyway, couple things about this pitch:

  • If Jennifer researched my blog (or has been a reader for awhile) she is very brave to pitch on Vitrue as she knows how I feel about this brand (if this is the case, she wins today because I’m blogging about them).
  • If she didn’t know about my history of sharing thoughts on Vitrue, thinking I’m going to care about the YouTube video and press release links is a bit presumptive. It’s like trying to go all the way on the first date – I’ve never received an email from Jennifer or Vitrue personally. If they build a relationship with me first I would be a heck of a lot more willing to check out links sent. I get so many links sent to me everyday not just by PR people and other businesses pitching me on their services but also by friends. Why should I look at their links? What permission have they built?
  • Vitrue has a blog. I too am a blogger. If the PR team wants me to respond to something they’re doing – maybe they should link to me in a post prompting a discussion? The chances I would respond are very high and it would be more a discussion (and a better way to change my perspective).
  • The pitch itself is short – Jennifer did well there (you wouldn’t believe the number of 1000 word pitches I get sent – my friend Eric Friedman and I have an ongoing back channel about these things that provides a bit of amusement).

Now a few things about the content being pitched since they asked me to look

  • There is no meaning behind the list other than that proclaimed by Vitrue. I clicked the link to their press release which lacked methodology for how these are put together other than saying “raw mentions.” Which is about as meaningful as any other data they release (so, not meaningful at all). We could go through the fact their list isn’t even apples to apples as it has products and brands together. Or the fact there is no mention for how the brands and products are chosen (or how they’ve been compiled). But we don’t need to because Vitrue already has the reputation for pretty much making stuff up.
  • The video is altogether unsharable. Bad stock music. Takes too long to make a point (and doesn’t really make much of a point anyway). Bland graphics (feels stock). The font text is boring.  Here it is on YouTube if you really want to see – it just feels poorly thrown together. Come on guys if you want to be taken seriously on a stats video or any creative content up your game: look at what Jess3 or Erik Qualman have done with well produced and creative videos on stats.  Finally – the core content isn’t accurate (or really super interesting or insightful) so even if they had a nice video it wouldn’t matter. Here’s a primer on content marketing they should probably check out (pay attention to slide 41).
  • The infographic offered is floating around the web too (here it is on Mashable). I have the same feedback as the video to this – it just feels rushed. Again they need to up their game: other brands in their space going after the same market such as Flowtown publish incredible infographics on their blog multiple times monthly. Guess what, their infographics are so good (both from a visual and content standpoint) they don’t even need to pitch bloggers on them. Bloggers organically share them. Flowtown is doing it right, they realize this stuff isn’t a one time event to be pitched, rather they are building permission and growing a community.

Look, I don’t dislike Vitrue’s product or team and was fine with leaving them alone (and do appreciate that their team members have commented on previous threads about their brand). But if they are going to not just publish inaccurate information for the world to see but also ping me with it, of course I’m going to analyze it. Subscribers know that’s kind of what we do here, usually to prove a point.

I still think they’re missing the mark of this category – yeah they’re getting some press but their content marketing overall lets me down a bit. Maybe my expectations are too high. What do you think?