I’m following people on Twitter and Facebook to see what the whole “Social Media” experiment is. Part of me believes that it is yet another get rich quick scheme. However, not all that many folks are actually raking in cash. (GigaOm had to get another round of money this year, so maybe there isn’t enough money in blogging as the new newspaper medium). Then there are the shows — oh, so many of them. I wonder how many actually turned a profit?
If you are thinking about jumping into Social Media Marketing for your company, here’s some advice:
There are No experts (here and here). Sure, people call them that. And there are lists of people to follow (here and here and here and here and here), but the industry is too young to have experts. (And how many can answer most of Chris Brogan’s questions?) Plus the whole sector is in a constant state of flux: one day its blogs, then social networks, then twitter, then on to the next cool widget / tool / app. It seems to be like fashion – once everyone is wearing it, it’s no longer cool. More likely, once it hits mainstream, it is no longer useful because the noise level has become way too loud.
The key thing is that social media is just a platform for communications and connections. It is a tool like a billboard or a commercial, but it has to be engaging. People want to be engaged, connected, told a story — Entertained. The hardest thing to do in a declining civilization is to keep the masses entertained.
The next step is to realize that without a goal and a plan, it’s just a crazy time sink.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- How will you go about doing that?
- Who will help you?
Chris Brogan has a nice post about how to build a powerful small network. You are doing that, but you are inviting people to buy into your Vision and take the ride with you. There’s an element of trust there, but if you can engage them with an authentic story then you are on your way.
“Companies that focus on earning love will thrive during hard times, and kick ass when good times return.” – Andy Sernovitz from Peter Kim’s Social Media Predictions for 2009.
One thing to remember is that although there is no capital cost (CAPEX) to social media there is a lot of man-hour cost. And if you are not authentic and kind of transparent, then your reputation may suffer. Also, if you are not prepared to expend the effort long term, don’t bother. It takes time to write a thoughtful blog regularly (at least once a week). It takes time to Twitter and use Facebook. Moderating a forum or starting discussing on a social network app takes an enormous effort. (And it is about the conversation). As David Armano wrote, “Although it is now cheaper to launch an initiative leveraging Web 2.0 technology – it requires qualified and passionate people to make them successful.”
It’s going to be conversations not tricks because SEO is Dead. Search is getting local and smarter. According to Bernie Borges at Find and Convert, “”search” is a much bigger picture than SEO only…I like “SMO” because “media” doesn’t limit to engines.” That means you have to have a strategy. Well, now’s a good time to plan for 2009!