There’s a shift in the market.
I believe the business community has heard enough about how much they need social media, seen how big companies have adopted it, been to enough presentations saying the exact same thing in a slightly different way. They’ve seen the artic… well you get the point.
What I noticed recently is the steady rise in demand for good, sound social media strategy and a waning demand for generic social media rah-rah fluff. Businesspeople are asking “What Now?“. And this is just the beginning. We’re pushing to the next stage of the adoption curve. What comes next is the same thing that happened with websites a few years ago. Many were reluctant to build one when that shift started happening. What I suggest is for you to skip ahead this time around.
You will have to consider “socializing” your marketing presence not as a side project, but as an integral part of your marketing efforts. Based on my experience in the traditional media channels, I know this will be the next hurdle for some companies to overcome. So I thought I would share some ideas and insights about where things are and where you should be.
You must Full Monte, whether you like it or not.
As much as web democratized some things, it’s like feudalism compared to the pure speed and power of ideas spreading through social media. Entire conversations about you, your products and your service are happening far out of your direct reach and influence. It still amuses me to speak to a new client and show them reviews other people have been writing on a specialty forum, Yelp or Google. Rather than attempting to control these (which you can’t), I would suggest being open, honest, direct and most of all nice.
You are now the target market.
For far too long companies had the opportunity to shove their message down our throats… repeatedly… in a variety of media. This changed a while ago, but even more so with the proliferation and advancement of mobile technology and social media. I, as a consumer, don’t have to watch TV, listen to the radio or get eye-assaulted by obtrusive outdoor and indoor ads. I can just turn my phone on, watch a show I want to watch, listen to music I want to listen to, play with an app I decide to play with… It’s YOUR turn to listen to what I have to say, on MY networks, forums and other democratized media under my control.
Do some good (aka social branding)
With that said… much like Google’s motto “Don’t be evil“, I strongly encourage you to do some good. The value of goodwill, social equity and exceptional customer service far outweighs, and more importantly out-reaches, your billboard spend. Fantastic campaigns such as the Pepsi Refresh project, Threadless’ Brand Love or Target’s Play and Learn are what we should all aspire to. Not only are they doing good in the community, but also engaging audiences and branding themselves on social channels and leveraging their audience’s networks.
With that said, it’ll now be interesting to see how marketing managers and presidents decide to handle this shift. I look forward to the exciting changes we’ll all go through in the next few years as our lives become more intertwined with technology and new ways to interact with our environment.