Yesterday, a man jumped out of a balloon from 24 miles up — at the edge of space. Truly spectacular, awesome stuff. Just watch for yourself:

Watch the supersonic jump.

For me, I love that the whole thing was put on by Red Bull. An energy drink company. Almost literally living up to their tagline … “gives you wings.”

The event took about 3 hours from balloon launch until Felix returned to Earth (sticking the landing perfectly, I might add). In that time, millions of people watched it on TV and on the YouTube live stream. And many of those people were watching “together” by sharing tweets and commenting on Facebook as it was happening.

That part has a number of people proclaiming the Stratos mission to be a huge “social media success.” And they’re right. Sort of.

Here’s the thing: Red Bull didn’t do this as a social media campaign.

Social media was certainly a part of the experience — that has to be a given in today’s multi-channel, multi-screen world. As a marketer, you still need to plan for it, use it, embrace it. But in this case, there was nothing asking viewers to like Red Bull’s Facebook page, or leave a comment, or share a photo, or use some ridiculously forced hashtag.

Red Bull put together an amazing experience, and people watched. They talked about it. They shared it. The audience took care of the social media part.

Sure, Red Bull “engaged in the conversation.” But for the most part, Stratos was about doing something completely amazing, and letting everyone watch & share in awe.

Just Be Awesome

Instead of trying to brainstorm your next “big social media campaign,” do something worth talking about. It doesn’t have to set a world record. It just needs to be fun, different, unique. In a word, talkable.

Red Bull did something worth talking about. So did 9-year-old Caine with his arcade. And Matt in his effort to raise money for a friend. And companies that provide an unexpected level of service:


There are countless other great examples.

In each of these cases, it’s not about social media. It’s about doing something awesome. But they’re all “social media successes” because people wanted to talk about them.

So stop worrying so much about your Pinterest strategy. Social media absolutely matters to marketing, but it matters most when it comes from your audience. Go be awesome, and let people talk about it.