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Content Insider # 181 - The Sequels
"New" Social Media Options Aren't New, They're Sequels
By Miles Weston

"You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday..." - Pamela Voorhees, Friday the 13th, Paramount Pictures (1980)

Our son is irritated with his grandfather.  
Wanted to wish him a happy birthday but...he doesn't have a Facebook account...isn't on Twitter...never looked  at YouTube. 
For gawd's sake, he doesn't even have an email address!
Yes, there are people in this whole, magnificent wide world who are...deprived!
So his choice was to resort to the old fashioned stuff...a phone call or letter.
Yeah, those early forms of social media are our last resorts too.
We were delighted with the next advance - email.  This was a whole new solution for communicating with another person.
It was "personal" but allowed both of us to use at our mutual convenience.
But like any movie that somehow strikes a cord with millions of people, it needed a sequel. 


Web 2.0 gave it to us.

The Beginning - You may not have been there at the very beginning of Web 2.0 time but at least you have a good idea of how the Web-enabled universe started.   Someone had a good idea so a few others had a "good" idea and it continued spreading.  There are times it's just not safe anymore to go into the lake.  Source - Fred
Sure, face-to-face or a phone call is still the best, most effective communications tool out there; but that hasn't stopped people and companies from embracing/swearing by the next great social media advance.
Once marketing and communications people see a social media remake and they master it, they know...this is the one!
Social Sequels
For some, it's still FaceBook. For others, it's Twitter. For others, it's MySpace, YouTube, Flickr or any one of the hundreds of new social media sequels.
People moved because they believed Crazy Ralph when he warned folks about standing still, "You're doomed if you stay here!"
Every one is going to be richer...more elegant...more captivating...more real...more in touch...more better.
There are so many super fantastic social media opportunities out there that marketing, communications people and ordinary folks like our kids and us don't have time to think...or work.

Why You're So Busy - You probably wonder why you're so busy every day that you never get anything done.  It's're online in overdrive.  By the time you check all of the online resources for mentions of your product or you, it's time to start over.   Fortunately, there's a tool for that.  Source - Overdrive Interactive
We have so many great sequels that communications people can use, they complain that they aren't able to get all their work done anymore.
As Officer Dorf said, "We ain't gonna stand for any weirdness out here!"
The world really has become one of social business. 
What's that?
Online Action
What isn't it...blogs, social nets, webcasts, voice over IP(VOIP), forums, RSS feeds, online communities, Wiki's, geosocial nets, crowdsourcing, collective intelligence, socialytics, microblogs, tagging, idea management and probably things we haven't heard of...yet.
Someone recently explained it differently - more effectively - when he said that all of the communications platforms/opportunities were noising him out.
Sure, you could sign up for every new sequel when it comes out, just in case it might become your audience's or your favorite.  It's probably a good thing to have your online presence on display and continually updated. 
That way, you'll be hit every nanosecond with updates from business colleagues, friends, old/new relationships and those people you can't stand to be around.
It's such a challenge Alice said, "I don't know if I'm gonna last all week."
Millennials, teens, tweens and the up-and-comers are really suffering because they're on 'em all.
We've got blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and that old faithful - email - that fill those awkward moments between work and thinking.

Focus, Focus - It's true that there's no small site on the Web and you have to pay attention to as many as possible.  There are key locations you need to track more closely, more intensely than others.  For the rest, use automated key word tools...just in case.  Source - Marketing Sherpa
Our selections may not - heck, probably won't - make you happy because you're onto the next sizzle of social business; but it's the few our sequel-numbed mind can hold/manage.
Social Investments
A recent IBM study of global chief marketing officers found that over 60% are increasing their online, interactive investment because it is a vital tool for them to:
- Generate business exposure
- Increase traffic, subscribers, opt-ins
- Develop new business partnerships
- Gain knowledge, ask questions
- Share knowledge, contribute ideas gain unfiltered feedback on products, services
- Communicate with customers, prospects
- Improve internal, partner communications, relationships
- Competition is doing it
- Monitor conversations, activities
- It's part of my job
For a lot of marketing, communications people we'll bet the last three items are the prime reason for their involvement because if you look at some of the stuff out ain't that good.
But we all do it because that's where the folks are that we want - need - to reach, understand, inform, persuade, convince.

Demographics - Today's web demographics often resemble the key influences marketing and communications people want to reach.  Of course your usage, your targets may vary.  Source - Forrester
The challenge for companies, marketing/communications folks is to quit jumping on each new digital craze that comes along.
It sorta' reminds us of the gopher game where you bang one hole after another because a new gopher pops up.  Or, as Bob O'Donnell, of IDC, injected at a recent presentation, "Look, there's another one."
Another sequel is never that good and is never going to change the online/offline world.
Better Steps
To do it right people have to:
- Go beyond the multiple touchpoints and develop seamless connections.  Treating each one as an independent action is a helluva' waste of time.  Just look at Figure 2 and 3 again.  They're physical, mental, emotional wastes
- Most of the shifts in marketing/communications are based on yesterday's web analytics and produce panic shifts in an effort to prove ROI (return on investment).  No matter how many different social tools you use, the brutal fact is people won't talk to you unless they know you.  Shooting out publicity, communications may produce clicks, likes, fans but it doesn't produce long term results that integrated, company-wide communications delivers
- Being in the upper echelon of the Google (or other engine) searches does diddle. 
- Better start with getting people to know you, getting them to trust you, getting them to remember you, getting them to understand what you stand for.  That means everyone has to be involved doing his/her job which means you're not the boss, the manager...sheess, you're just one of the team.
Annie added, "Come on, there's something you're not telling me."
Social Review
O.K., here's something your social media expert won't tell you...ForeSee's recent Social Media Value Benchmark report found that less than 1 percent of website visits came directly from a social media URL.

 Eighteen percent of the site visitors said they were influenced (probably more because no one admits "advertising" influenced them).

On the upside, they found that the respondents tended to spend more and be more satisfied/loyal customers.

The "modest" results that don't put social media down make you think long and hard about the goals, the execution, the commitment. 

As Pamela Voorhees said, "You never paid any attention. Look what you did to him."

ForeSee said that email is known to influence 32 percent of customers.

Maybe it's just a little more personal, especially for older customers, but for kids mobile texting and messaging seem to be the only way you'll reach them.

Adding Links -  As with some board games, the key to online business, personal success is linking your information with other activities on the Web.  Over the long haul, you build your product's image, community, following, sales. 

There's no right, single way to listen to, talk to, engage with people who are your customers, partners, friends.

But the next sequel that you jump to because this social solution doesn't seem to be working for you, is not the answer.

If they aren't your friend on Facebook or don't like your stuff on YouTube, there's no reason to like you in your new role in the remake.

Can't Kill It -
With social media we've put extraordinary power, reach, control in the hands of ordinary people.  The industry has made it easy (O.K., pretty easy) for just about anyone to start up a new online service, capability and they have after seeing the success of Google, FaceBook, others.  Sequels will continue.  Image - Paramount Pictures

Enos, the truck driver, will watch the faddists and say, "Dumb kids. Know-it-alls. Just like my niece, heads fulla rocks."

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Undercover author Miles Weston has spent more than 30 years in the storage, software and video industry, indulging in, among other things, marketing activities in promoting PC, CE, communications, content technology and their applications . Contact Miles through his editor by clicking here.


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