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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?


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