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2 posts from June 2010

June 23, 2010

Social Media will not work on it's own.

... quickly enough. Yes, it will raise profile and yes it is needed. Yes it is good for PR and R&D.  Yes your writing will be found by journalists and yes, you will be perceived as a thought leader (but only if the correct method is instigated at commencement).

By its very nature SM is broadcasting i.e. one way dialogue. I'm aware that it might lead to conversation which is the idea, but on it's own it's still just broadcasting.

More importantly if you were a business, how would you go about organising what is, by definition, conversation? Obviously,  you can bring to bear all the SM tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc but how are you going to get you next Client to engage? How long will it take? How many resources will it take?

How do you calculate the ROI on SM? It is conversation so, in essence, calculating the ROI on SM is tantamount to calculating the ROI on "talking"!

Don't get me wrong, SM has its place and it does work for all the right reasons, BUT, on it's own I'm convinced it's not enough.

We can listen to the web. There are some very clever algorithms that will allow you to "group" conversation, thus giving you the ability to "jump in" to the appropriate conversation. However, again, this will take up resources, time and cash.

I think there is a bigger picture. And this picture is the web in its entirety.

The web is there to help us all organise ourselves, it's one gigantic and constantly up-dating Filo-fax. YouTube for video, Twitter for conversation, LinkedIn for business associates, Flickr for pictures, Amazon for buying - you get the idea.

So if the web is there to help us all organise ourselves then, by default, we can see intent.

Intentions 500  

And intent, in my humble opinion, is a method that can be piped without the cost of continual resources.

What is the intent when people use specific sites? If we can answer this, then we can see method and when we can see that, we can pipe it.

Every company and/or individual will use the web for a specific purpose, this purpose is individual as each of us. Therefore, SM on it's own will not work - quickly enough.

Conclusion: In the not so distant past, Marketers had a clear signal of our intent - when we go "out to the shops" we wanted to buy something, and we did not mind so much being sold to. However, when we go down the Pub our signal changed to "I'm not wanting to be sold to" I want to be social. And the latter describes the social web - we don't want to be sold to unless I'm giving the signal OR allowing you to "pipe me" to a call to action.

These signals are all over the web, and these signals are, largely, being ignored by continually focussing on SM as a sole answer.

What I am focussing on is how to interpret this intent and then direct it to a call to action.  What I am focussing on is how to "pipe" social intent.  What I am focussing on is what I believe is the next stage of social media interaction. 

What do you think?


June 09, 2010

Social media is crap.


But is it?

One thing is for sure, it would seem that there is a lot of debate on the web and it would also appear that the term "Marketing" and "Social Media" are being used in the same sentence.

Question: Should they?

I would argue that if they are, then it is crap. I can say this because most of the "marketeers" that I know would wish that it did or still see it as an opportunity to do so.

I'm not a marketeer, never have been, but from what I can see Marketing stands for this: See a "channel" (an opportunity to be exposed to great numbers of people), go with a budget and create a "campaign", then calculate the "ROI", take the profit and do it again.

There is nothing wrong with this.

But what is wrong is trying to use this method in a social environment. Surely.

Yesterday it was announced that social networks have overtaken search engines in the UK!  Marketing using an indexing site such as Google will deliver a quantifiable ROI, we know this to be true. 


Pics courtesy of TechCrunch Europe 

But this form of marketing is no different than having a shop on the High street - fuelled by intent, and this word "intent" is important. We go shopping with the intent to buy something, but we don't go to a social activity with the same intent. Social activities, by default, can influence the intent, but the subtleties of this are a far reach of what traditional marketing will bring to "intent".

Robin Goad from Hitwise says this: “although social networks and search engines perform different functions, they both act as gateways to the wider Internet. This data perfectly illustrates the key role that social media now plays in so much online behavior.”

So it would appear that "Marketing" is a method of captivating intent. Good. But it only works when there is intent.

The intent in a social activity is exactly that - social.

So it would appear that SM is a force that, without a doubt and bias, needs to be reckoned with - but the subtleties of method and use need to be dealt with as well.

And these subtleties mean that "Marketing" (in the traditional sense) to the social streams is crap, because you will find it very hard to calculate an ROI. It's costly and, moreover, in the long term could spell disaster as what ever you put up there today stays there in perpetuity and being perceived as a spammer will only damage your brand and mind-share.

Marketing to a social stream will "pigeon hole" the perpetrator as being "stuck on broadcast mode" and what is social about that?

Social media is not crap - marketing to it is.