Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's time for some flag-staking: Social Media, where we're at

We'll, you can say that social media is quite established these days. We've all been dabbling and experimenting, and now I feel like we're at the point where we really know what's what. We know the correct methods and applications to perform an appropriate social media shakedown.

1. Harnessing social media parallels the era when companies jumped on the website bandwagon
Back in the hey-day, the 90s, companies scrambled to create one-dimensional information-based websites. It was a necessity and a way for consumers to get the information they required straight from the source. As a company, if you didn't have it, you were fucked- it's a constant that consumers can continually tap in and out of.
Social media is the evolution of this concept- it needs to be a constant, and companies need to be available, in a more dynamic fashion.

2. Consumers know how to cha-cha
Consumers view the internet as a seamless experience. They know how to access stuff, they know what marketing is and can smell it a mile away. One thing they don't care for are campaign timelines. Life is a constant flow and when they're interested in your company, you should be around and be conversant.

3. Social media isn't just about being "available"
As a company, if you're considering a social media strategy, it's important not to consider "let's be on the FB, let's be on Twitter, let's make a retarded island in Second Life" and so on and so forth. Those assets will have limits. By that I mean only a certain number of people will be interested in those things from the get go, even with the inclusion of support traffic drivers. Without a natural fit and reason to be, potential new users will have no way of finding an in to begin with.

4. Identify where you intersect in the social graph
The social graph is great- it demonstrates how everyone is connected to everyone else in some shape or form. However, without that one person (or few people) who is the glue between 2 groups, the whole thing falls apart. My point is that these links across the social graph are tenuous and I believe quite weak. Many marketers think they just need to enter into the social graph and their message will spread across the groups. Not the case my friend. A company needs to immerse themselves in the middle of the correct group/s within the social graph to be effective. Then, be a part of this group, be continually involved and give reason to the group to trust and believe in the representative, not only as a marketer, but also as an individual.

5. Cherry picking is the hot new term for '09.
Tools and social media options are prolific. Choosing the right ones can be tough. Not only do we need to identify the right groups that fit a brand's values, but we need to identify the right tools according to need states.
And forget about making the same tool/tactic for each community- these communities tend to operate differently within social media. Consider stay at home mothers versus car enthusiasts for example. They both have completely different ways of connecting online. If this is only gut instinct, imagine what the data will say?

6. People don't live in a vacuum.
People, human beings, participate in both the virtual and real world. This means, translate any social media activity within both realms- i.e. any digital activity needs to have some inspiration from the real and then help take that digital outside the boundaries of binary.

I think this is it for now. I do believe it is quite an accurate assessment. I shall be adding more points as the brain digests.


M.M. McDermott said...

Dead on, Wisey. I'd also add that this is the year that brands have to be willing to let go of the conversation. The typical marketing mindset is to jump on the soc. med. bandwagon, but refuse to abide by the dynamics of dialogue - i.e., listen to people, even if you don't like what they have to say.

The toughest part is going to be convincing big dumb brands not to run their soc. med. campaign like traditional one-way projects.

wisey said...

let go and embrace.
Have you seen the clients who need to copywrite every tweet before it goes up??
tee hee