I recently took a small poll on Twitter and asked who you thought were THE people to keep eye on in 2010. People that are bubbling under and don’t have status or a high profile just yet in Social Media. Who do you keep going back to for information and help, they aren’t as popular as Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan and the Jeff Pulver’s of the Internet.
So for fun, I have listed for you 5 people I keep a close eye on and I think they are going to make the jump from bubbling under to making a huge contrinbution to how we use, measure and interact in Social Media Networks. These people are not only smart but a lot of fun to chat with, hang with and I suspect do business with, I’ll let you be the judge of that though.
My Top 5 for 2010
If you have a Top 5 please leave a comment and tell us who you think we should watch in 2010!
The conversation of Ubiquity makes the early adopters and experts cringe, it means quantity over quality. By that I mean, Social Media allows everyone to participate, be all things to everyone, build a niche, create a following and then brand. Part of the problem is Social Media attracts poor quality and mediocrity, not too mention the Spammers and unethical Internet Marketers. It will water down everything and make it harder to be found or heard because of all the noise.
Frankly, mediocrity is what we’ve had under the control model, big business, traditional marketing and so on. Social Media’s mass ubiquity model changes the control model, the control model deals with people formerly known as consumers. Today we all do things to get traction, to get attention and be heard. That traction is the result of engagement, exposure and attention. Whatever is good comes to the top. The key is to find the point of attention, being different and unique, that is not going to change.
It’s true the biggest challenge is the noise and staying on top of trends. Finding the point of attention helps solve that problem, there’s more to it of course but it’s a start. Filtering content these days is becoming more important than creating it, there is much to be done here, tools that make it easier and faster to filter content will help the best of the best rise to the top. One of the useful tools to rising to the top is being tagged & RT’d to be heard. RTs & Tags will play a huge role in identifying quality content and quality people.
So what does Mass Ubiquity mean? How does the cream rise to the top? It’s simple really, it’s based on Merit. I’m generalizing here but the masses will put you on Lists, RT your work, Tag you and Like you for the work you’ve done. These features will help you rise to the top. Measuring these indicators will be another interesting equation, but we have great people out there like Olivier Blanchard to make sure we focus on the right metrics.
RTs & Tags, these WOM (Word Of Mouth) tools and terms are becoming the secret sauce of Social Media Rock Star’s & Trust Agent’s we know today. But in the end, quality is good and crap is not. The RTs, Tags, Likes and Lists will work towards that end, manage your brand, do the right things and you will live long and prosper here on the Internet. Social Capital will be as important as real money. Why? Because we are in an extreme reputation economy, word of mouth matters more today than it ever has.
RTs & Tags – Will They Help You Rise To The Top?
What do you think?
Every Sunday afternoon I play soccer with a great bunch of guys, we’ve been getting together at the same field now for over ten years, trying to stay in shape of course. In July of this year I took a tumble at warp speed and broke, no shattered my left shoulder at the clavicle joint. Here it is now late September and I still have not been cleared to play, do you have any idea how frustrating that is? To know you can’t be out there with your buddies, knowing you can help your team mates win. Half the fun is the strategy, who plays what position and who has the touch up front and finish the play by putting in the net. As this is just drop in soccer we get people at various levels of ability, from 17 to 56 years of age and every once and awhile someone comes out that doesn’t have clue what you can and can’t do, they don’t know the rules. So they run around all over the place not knowing what to do and never really ask for help, and when they do, they forget what you said almost as fast as you said it. Given enough time and they come out more often, eventually, they find there way and start to contribute in a meaningful way.
You are probably wondering where I’m going with this, the question is, are you one of those soccer players running around trying to accomplish something meaningful in the game? Are you playing with the Internet and Social Media the same way? You’ve setup your Blog and you’re telling everyone to come to your site but you haven’t taken the time to learn how or what to do with all those visitors. There are a great many people out there you would consider successful, but there is a far greater number that haven’t realized their 15 minutes of fame yet. You have two ways to approach the Internet & Social Media, you can learn from those who have gone ahead of you or you can try to figure it out yourself.
I can tell you from personal experience, learning from those who have gone before you and succeeded is much easier, that is the choice I would make if you’re just getting started. In fact, if you’ve been Blogging for awhile you should study the leaders anyway, learn the guidelines and then figure out how to make them work for you. Pay attention to what they do, but don’t try to act like they do…why? In Social Media circles you will hear the mantra, be real, be yourself and be honest. So trying to act like someone else won’t let the uniquely designed you to come out, and you will be known as someone who is not authentic and phony.
Everyone loves guy’s like Gary Vaynerchuck, Chris Brogan and Scott Stratten but you will never be able to duplicate how they deliver the message and do what they do. You can however, learn what they do and then learn to make it yours, learn to make it unique by being who you were meant to be. Gary wrote a book soon to be released in October called, ” CRUSH IT ” and Chris’s book which is already out and amply titled, ” TRUST AGENTS “, tell you what I just shared, be sure to order a copy and learn from them first hand.
As you can see, help is closer than you think. No matter what your niche or area of expertise happens to be, study what Gary & Chris do but also pay attention to others like Amber Naslund, David Armano, Mack Collier, Olivier Blanchard, Trey Pennington and Kris Colvin. Spend some time in the Silicon Valley circle to by watching Robert Scoble and Louis Gray. Most of the above have sites with video’s you can view so you get an idea of who they are, and what they are doing with Social Media Networks. As you can see there many to follow and learn from, but they all cover their interests and passions in their own unique way. Also keep in mind some of these people are paid to do what they do in Social Media Networks, but that’s what makes them great case studies.
– Amber Naslund works for Radian6, they provide tools for real-time social media monitoring and analysis designed primarily for PR and Ad agencies.
– David Armano, is the Senior Partner at Dachis Group, was created to unlock the value of social technologies for large corporate enterprises through its Social Business Design global advisory practice, and technology implementation program. David talks about the 5 B’s:
1.) Be Ubiquitous
2.) Be Social
3.) Be Interesting
4.) Be Remarkable
5.) Be Yourself
– Mack Collier, Helping companies understand the ” Social ” part of Social Media.
– Olivier Blanchard, trains company executives and project teams in all matters of social media management and measurement, then help them build and integrate effective programs into every facet of their business, from Public Relations, business development and market research to Human Resources and Customer Support. Oh and Olivier is working on a book that will educate you on the proper way to realize and calculate the true ROI (Return On Investment) in Social Media.
– Trey Pennington, Interviews leaders in Business & Social Media on BlogTalkRadio and uses almost every Social Media Network out there.
– Kris Colvin, is the designer of Twitterface.com and a Social Media Maven with passion and desire, Twitterface is a great tool so be sure to use it.
Whether you already have a business or a Blog, you will never stick with it and see it through unless you’re passionate about it. Gary Vaynerchuck’s war cry is to do your passion and you’ll give yourself the best chance to win. Remember, the Internet is the Platform, Social Media is the Tool you can master on the Internet. Do your homework, study how to use the tools and pay attention to your passion. In another article I wrote, called ” Your Passion Is In Front of You, You’re Just Not Paying Attention” its so simple it’s almost embarrassing, I triple dog dare you to read it.
Each person who is a success online can only teach you how they did it, not how someone else did it. Now pay attention to what I just said, they may have duplicate someone else’s system but they made that system there’s through their personality and how they think. They couldn’t ever act or be like the person they learned from, so study by taking notes, watching videos and then find your passion. The final step is to make it your own, only you can be you and only you can do it. So who are you and what are you doing?
It appears that Social Media is still in its early stages when it comes to the small to medium business circles, some haven’t heard of it or even know what it means.
This past week was filled with engagement and affirmation, discovering I truly do find value in these Social Media Networks, which means the time, I spend here and on Twitter, FriendFeed and the like, is not a complete waste of time. If you are like me, you like to surround yourself with sharp, smart, like-minded people. I love collaboration and bouncing ideas and concepts around, especially with those I consider smarter and more creative than myself, it makes waking up fun. For years I chased the Brass Ring climbing the corporate ladder, only to find I was not only unfulfilled, I was missing the opportunity to do the very thing I was supposed to do. My destiny is to help others, I have the gift of helps, I may not relate to everyone but I will relate to some. We all have the same problem of relating to others, we will relate to a certain few but not everyone. The very core of Social Media is relating and building relationships.
One of the many things I have learned this past year is, that Social Media is here and it’s changing how we do business and reshaping how we relate to clients, consumers and customers. I’ve also had to the deal with the lack of understanding business owners have of Social Media, they just don’t get what it can do for them yet. That’s yet, but they will. The early adopters are always looking for the next thing and start the trending. Here in Canada we are slow to jump on things but we do catchup at some point, there are a few of us paying attention and help start the trend so we can inform and teach those interested. Those early adopters who do feel alone do so for sometime until the enough hoopla and fan fair happens and then we are recognized as the authorities on the topic.
I was chatting on Twitter with a couple of people that (@thebrandbuilder & @treypennington, @johnlusher) I would call friends and I would even be so bold to say we are like-minded, we were scratching our heads wondering why some get Social Media & others don’t. What is it about businesses and marketing departments are trying to push a square peg into round hole? They keep trying to make traditional metrics and thinking work with Social Media and yet, still can’t figure out the ROI. I shared about a conversation I had with a local business and that’s when Olivier got wound up, @thebrandbuilder said, “Do they at least understand R.O.I. and Social Media separately? As individual topics?”. He also said, “If Marketing Departments learned this stuff, they wouldn’t have to work so hard to prove their value”. Trey, the calming voice said, “Must be patient with them”.
There are a few examples of businesses making good use of Social Media but they are merely scratching the surface, these leaders are the R & D departments for many businesses learning the ropes. The problem is, how can you tell who get’s it and who doesn’t. Who should you consult with and who can you trust. Hopefully, you will follow me and my friends as we share not only the differences but maybe even direct you to the right people.
After this chat I asked if they would participate in this article, if they had the time, afterall it is the long Labour Day Weekend 🙂 I’ll thank Trey and John here as they have provided some perspective for you to digest.
You don’t have to be a “guru” or “expert” to realize that the world of marketing has changed. Social Media is opening connection and communication directly between companies and the individuals within their marketplaces. What hasn’t changed is the prevailing corporate attitude toward social media. Instead of embracing social media and experimenting with new ways of engaging their customers, organizations from the US Marines to the Southeastern Conference to ESPN have attempted to ban, block, hinder, or restrict social media.
Their actions are reminiscent of one going through the stages of grief. Those who try to block social media at work are in the denial and isolation phase, pretending that social media is either a plague or childs’ play. When their efforts to isolate themselves from social media fall apart, they move to anger. This is the phase mainstream media is today. You’ll see their anger when they write stories about the “cursing old man” who is now a huge celebrity on Twitter, even though he only had 28 tweets at the time of the article. The same article also gave the lowest estimate of Twitter users (six million) I’ve seen in a very long time.
(source for “cursing old man,” he now has a book deal! As of today his Twitter account @shitmydadsays only has 30 tweets).
At the moment, I can’t think of a good example of the bargaining phase, but I’m sure we’ll see it soon. It’ll probably look something like a corporate civil war with marketing and public relations silos publicly questioning why their company had to add a whole new silo for the social media kids.
Once they realize social media is here to stay, actually, when they realize social media will move from the tail wagging the dog to being the big dog, they’ll write articles and give keynotes about the “glory days of marketing” or the “glory days of real public relations.”
Sadly, by the time those within the corporation get to the acceptance phase, what they’ll have to accept is working for a boss who is considerably younger than them. The big bosses (all those famous C- level folks) will have to accept that their most profitable market segments are now being happily serviced by young upstarts who “got” social media back in the late 2000s (like IBM and Digital realized in the early 1990s when they saw what folks like Apple and Sun and thousands of other “kids” were doing to them).
Or, corporations can take a crash course in grief now, and get it over with.
Communication tools are changing at an amazing pace and most businesses aren’t sure what to do or how to get involved. Social Media is a prime example of this situation and the Social Media Fog, in my opinion, is the uncertainty that businesses face when they try to figure out what they should be doing as it relates to these newer tools. Unfortunately, the majority of businesses in the SMB category, are not doing anything. SMB owners are so involved in the day-to-day running of their business, that they do not focus on planning for their business or marketing their business. Typically they use the old and tried but not true methods of marketing their businesses; phone books, television, radio, newspaper, print, etc., without realizing that their customers and most consumers do not use those tools to find businesses.
Social Media is the closest thing to word of mouth marketing for a business and should be evaluated as part of every businesses marketing plan. Does that mean that every business should use it? I don’t know; that question has to be answered as part of their overall business plan and marketing strategy for each individual business. I do know this, the demographics of people (i.e. consumers) using social media tools is more in the 40-45+ range than the 20+ range.
These people are the ones that have the money to spend and will consistently search for businesses and products online.
If businesses do not cut through the Social Media fog and evaluate these tools now; they will play catch up when they are forced to do so later.
This article is does not cover the ROI question but I’ll leave that to Olivier Blanchard @thebranderbuilder as he is the master on the topic as of this writing. Be sure to visit the website’s of these fine people, I’ll list them for you here and you can find the links on my Blog down on the right sidebar. Also, if you know others you trust on this topic please feel free to let me know so I can list them here.
1.) Trey Pennington – http://www.treypennington.com
2.) John Lusher – http://www.johnlusher.com
3.) Olivier Blanchard – http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com
As with most things in life, when they become popular everyone jumps on the wagon, it’s human nature, jumping on the wagon doesn’t mean you have a good understanding of what you are involved in, but being involved gives you a chance. As more and more considered experts are found out, the confusion will continue but those who can truly help business owners implement and maximize Social Media will give it the credibility it richly deserves.
Keep in mind, it’s just another tool in your marketing tool box, it’s not as complicated as it appears but there are some new tricks to learn before you jump in and embarrass you and your business. The other issue is, organizations having to hire someone to handle Community Manager and Communication roles, they think tradition job descriptions represent Social Media accurately. They don’t. Again reflecting their understanding of how Social Media Network environments communicate and function. This is due to old management thinking, they are doing what they have been taught and conditioned to believe, therefore, thinking they are doing the right things right fails them. Hopefully they will recognize they don’t understand it and will bring someone in who will help lift the Social Media Fog. If they do that, The Social Media Fog Will Lift.
This question has been nagging at me these past few weeks like I was being pecked to death by a chicken, could it be that these words are not computing with local business owners? It’s like your smallest child learning how to read an can’t pronounce a word, they end up creating a new word because they can’t say what they are reading. No it’s not a learning disability, it’s an understanding of what those words actually mean and how to use it in this new age and environment of marketing. It’s changed, or has it? Anytime you have the word ” Social ” attached to a phrase or sentence, people think less formal, beach party, BBQ or relaxing on the deck with friends. Yes, that is a form of being social and it is somewhat related to the term in business circles as well. The problem isn’t the word, it’s the thinking that is attached to the words, and small business owners can’t seem to break how they feel or think about the word. It’s not that they can’t, they just don’t know how and it’s embarrassing enough that they won’t ask for help on the topic for fear of looking stupid. I mean come on, it’s the words ” Social Media ” how could I not know what that means! So rather than find out, they think, let’s not go there and or I’ll avoid the conversation all together. Worse yet, I’ll ask my kids. Small to medium business, all business for that matter needs to educate themselves on the tidal wave before them and how to ride that wave without being wiped out.
In my corner of the world here in Western Canada, a very small group of people participate in the formal sense of the words social media. This group is comprised of mostly people from chat rooms or FaceBook and the like, not a many are business owners trying to add this environment into their marketing mix or even their support systems. I say this because I’ve been coming up against this lack of understanding everyday and this uncomfortable feeling when you try to share with them, to help them understand what it is or could be for their business. It’s like the words Social Media aren’t even in their vocabulary or business language, it’s completely missing, and if it is there, it’s a picture of people standing around a water cooler. So in light of that, I am posting the Wiki definition of Social Media here for all the world to see.
Social Media Definition
Social media is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal, political and business use.
Distinction from Industrial Media
Social media are distinct from industrial media, such as newspapers, television, and film. While social media are relatively inexpensive and accessible tools that enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, industrial media generally require significant resources to publish information. Examples of industrial media issues include a printing press or a government-granted spectrum license.
“Industrial media” are commonly referred to as “traditional”, “broadcast” or “mass” media.
One characteristic shared by both social media and industrial media is the capability to reach small or large audiences; for example, either a blog post or a television show may reach zero people or millions of people. The properties that help describe the differences between social media and industrial media depend on the study. Some of these properties are:
1. Reach – both industrial and social media technologies provide scale and enable anyone to reach a global audience.
2. Accessibility – the means of production for industrial media are typically owned privately or by government; social media tools are generally available to anyone at little or no cost.
3. Usability – industrial media production typically requires specialized skills and training. Most social media do not, or in some cases reinvent skills, so anyone can operate the means of production.
4. Recency – the time lag between communications produced by industrial media can be long (days, weeks, or even months) compared to social media (which can be capable of virtually instantaneous responses; only the participants determine any delay in response). As industrial media are currently adopting social media tools, this feature may well not be distinctive anymore in some time.
5. Permanence – industrial media, once created, cannot be altered (once a magazine article is printed and distributed changes cannot be made to that same article) whereas social media can be altered almost instantaneously by comments or editing.
Community media constitute an interesting hybrid of industrial and social media. Though community-owned, some community radios, TV and newspapers are run by professionals and some by amateurs. They use both social and industrial media frameworks.
Here is the link from the above: Social Media Definition
The real issue isn’t what the words mean, it’s how a consultant or media firm explains them, provides a case study that reflects that a business can derive an ROI from Social Media. Thus, giving the term value and a new way of marketing and communicating with their customers, by building a deeper, richer relationship that builds a new kind of loyalty. More importantly it provides a forum where you the business owners actually cares about what your clientele think about your products and services. A place where you can give them and even better experience of dealing with you.
Another challenge for these words and business owner’s; there are people out there claiming to be knowledgeable and understand social media that just plain don’t. These individuals land high positions in large organizations, they get the position and then scramble around to figure out how to do the job when they have no business being there in the first place. A great rant on this topic is from my friend Olivier Blanchard of The Brand Builder, his video entitled, “Is your Social Media Director qualified?”, it articulates far better than I Olivier’s frustration and concern with these individuals in one short video. Take the time to view it.
As you can tell there is alot of work to be done, an educational track that needs to be articulated in a way that business owners can connect the dots, connect the words to a real opportunity and value they have not considered before. Each business owner needs to bone up and learn that the term Social Media is a new marketing environment but also a relationship they have avoided in the past. You can no longer avoid it because it is the new word of mouth, it can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You have to decide which it will be.