World is quite different from the early days of eBay and Amazon. Reports and analysis from the past few years have all been pointing to the fact that commerce is being driven less and less by advertising, professional reviews and other biased sources of commercial messaging.This wrecks havoc on our traditional efforts because, as marketers, we now have less power and influence over our markets.
Our beautifully crafted messaging and creatives are becoming less impactful in this connected marketplace of ours. Reports keep validating that we tend to lack trust in commercial entities and if anything has validated this human behavior, it is the social web. In the world of $4 million dollar tv ad spots, this becomes a very hard pill to swallow. Don’t get me wrong, it still needs to be part of the overall marketing strategy but needs to be adjusted to accommodate the user behaviors of today.
Weber Shandwick and KRC research recently conducted a survey involving around 2000 consumers that outlines that peer reviews and social recommendations have grown beyond just friends advising each other on the new purchases.
Some of the findings include:
As Danny Brown states, “These figures, and some of the other ones in the full report, should act as a wake-up call to brands that are still investing in the traditional method of product review – buy advertorial or pitch the mass media – and ignoring search and social graph impact“.
In addition, let’s not ignore the fact that 70% of all content online is user generated. It also ranks higher than static corporate pages by search engines and trusted more by the average consumeras well. In 2013, all go-to-market planning and comms planning should be focused on strategically leveraging the potential of this medium.
And doing it right requires experience and understanding the context of the medium. Otherwise you end up with facebook and twitter accounts without any real social presence. Don’t believe me? Have a look at this hilarious Facebook Page of Corporate Social gone wrong.
Let’s avoid doing social in a pure check list manner. Mere likes and follows don’t translate to actual business. Time for experimentation is over.
P.S. For a copy of the full Executive Report on the survey referenced above, please click here.
Yes, a great strategist is focused on translating business objectives into socially adept interactions and not focused on it solely as a media channel.
If you are in the space, you must be following the hundreds of discussion threads around the ever changing role of the web/digital/social strategist. I want to showcase the common misunderstanding in this space. Social web is not another silo’d channel to ‘communicate’ to. It’s not a one way broadcast medium. It’s certainly not all about tools, follows, likes either. It is definitely not about being lazy and buying social advertising either.
It’s about understanding the medium to build a leveraged social network which can be utilized for various activities. From thought leadership, feedback channels to building sustained relationships. Not mere connections that don’t translate well.
Your strategy should be built around the way the audience uses the medium, not how it works well with your mode of operation (hint: no broadcasting, no one way messaging). The way you use LinkedIn is significantly different than how we use Facebook or Twitter or any other ‘X’ platform that comes out next. A great social strategist focuses on the translation of the social dynamic and momentum into the business objective in a manner that facilitates collaborative storytelling.
Anyone can tell you how to use Facebook, or best practices for engaging Twitter. Any community manager can build an engaged audience for a half decent product or brand, especially if they have goodies to give away.
A strong strategist doesn’t just put you on Facebook, he doesn’t just build value for your community, he or she facilitates the translation of the brand into the social context, ultimately helping to deliver the transformation of the brand promise into a social brand state.
Quoting Jon Burg,
“Typically, the aspiring strategists can use social tools and technologies to help drive a defined business objective. A great practitioner can translate and deliver business results leveraging the social dynamic overall. A fantastic strategist can transform the business overall for the socially connected world. At the end of the day, a social strategist is a business strategist focused on leveraging the unique dynamics of the social construct to drive a business. Everything else (knowledge of the platforms, best practices, technology) is the foundation of a strong strategist, not the definition of why he or she will excel.”
Kevin KC Lee says, a great strategist understands Social Media NOT as media, but as Social. Kevin, you are right. The premise of social is about engagement. And nothing else.
Social Media is perpetually evolving and changing. Not simply because technology continues to get better and enables new capabilities, but because the way people interact and the meanings of each ritual & action continues to be interpreted and reinterpreted by different peoples, different groups, and different regions, creating new opportunities and insights about how digital technologies can add value to their lives.
Today’s social media practitioner is occupied with learning these platforms to build clicks, impressions, likes, followers, re-tweets, comments, etc.
The problem is
Again, reliance or building your expertise around a specific ‘tool’ is not a good long term strategy.
In this fashion, the social media practitioner is constantly playing catch-up, and never fully delivering on the client’s key needs. Let’s try to understand the users first before we tackle down the ‘reason’ for engagement. Social intelligence technology has come a long way in the past few years, go out and try to learn more about the space. Culturally and Contextually.
Let’s build a mutually beneficial relationship.