What expectations, measurements and results do we plan on seeing in 2010? There is a lot of buzz surrounding the way Social Media will shape the business and communication landscape. Addressing these speculations, the panel outlined expectations, measurements and resultswe can hope to see in 2010.
Expectations: "Big companies need to take it seriously."
As explained above, one reason why big companies don't engage in Social Media is because they are scared.
In 2010, the panel unanimously agreed that many more big businesses will realize how valuable of a communication tool Social Media can be. Not only is it challenging, interesting and fun, "but it has the potential to be very lucrative.
Every client wants long-term strategies, and the panel predicts that in order to achieve this, clients will begin investing 5-7 figures into social media campaigns.
Less about what we do, and more about the reason they talk. A good business practice uses social media as means for proliferation, not an improvement to the service/product. It's easy to get carried away, but a successful business model has a truly quality offering, while providing the means with which to share the experience it provides. Social media allows others to talk about how great business-x is.
Measurement: "Social Media should come at the beginning."
Traditional measurement will have to change, as Social Media carries different weight. For instance in the old model, 20 impressions were no big deal. However, now whenever 20 impressions are served through Social Media, they are each an invitation to interact and communicate with one another.
Each social media channel holds different weight. A YouTube video response has different implications than a retweet.
Results: "Social Media should come at the beginning."
Ideally, an increased focus on social media will result in an increase of sales. Howard Greenstein brought up an example of a local barber shop that, through social media, was able to successfully increase its customer base for next to nothing cost.
David Berkowitz explains the 4 major social media necessities for producing results: Goals, Assets, Rules and Volume.
The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine essentially deletes any Social Media presence you may have. Not only does it sign you out of and change the password to social networks, it also deletes, one by one, all of your connections, claiming to "improve your relationships" and "get rid of stalkers."
"My internet life is dying, my real life is starting."
Social Media: "The Biggest Shift Since the Industrial Revolution" (via)
Note: at 1:04, 80% of companies use LinkedIn as their primary tool for finding employees. At 45+ million users, it has become an essential networking tool. This is why it is absolutely VITAL to have an impressive, current LinkedIn profile.
"U.S. consumers last year for the first time spent more time with media that they paid for than with advertising-supported media, according to the annual Communications Industry Forecast." - AdWeek
Hmmm, so what does that mean for us? In my opinion, either: 1) Since branded digital efforts are difficult to trace, their media may have been free, but not free of ads. 2) "Room for growth" 3) Consumers are willing to pay more for something as long as we don't get in the way.
Social Media and Relationships
Communication builds relationships.
Relationships build trust.
As creatures of habit and consistency, we as consumers generally lean towards what we have already experienced - what we trust.
When it comes down to it, that's why social media is so important and influential. It allows the brand to communicate with its fanbase, and ultimately build more trust through communication. It's not about trying to reach more people, it's about trying to form a long, beautiful relationship.
"Social Media" and "Web 2.0" are big buzz terms both in the agency and client side of the biz. A lot of the bigger, more conservative clients still hold on dearly to their safe, traditional :30 and :15 spots. Thanks to the infamous recession, though, many are trying to optimize their budgets and funnel their money into more traceable, accountable media channels. Namely, digital.
Since, for the most part, social media manifested is free, it makes sense, right? So why has it taken so long for behemoth companies to hop on board? Well, it's unfamiliar, difficult to maintain, and the content needs to attract a large audience in order to be effective. So why all the trouble?
In my opinion, the internet is more of a communication platform and than an information platform. Connecting people in order to share information has become its main purpose. I check my email and facebook at least three times an hour (no joke). Also, blogging is a hybrid between Advertising and Public Relations. It has the potential to be highly branded content, but can still be organic and natural. Bloggers share their own opinions and are more trustworthy than paid content. I trust CafeMom's opinion on Cheerios much more than that bee they have in their commercials.
In short, it's word of mouth, 2.0, and we've already passed the "early majority" stage. Get on it already!