By all means, send us your comments to our blogs - firstname.lastname@example.org
8th March 2012
The evolution of Social Media
I am not now – nor will I ever be - an expert in Social Media.
There – I have said it. It may not seem the most reassuring start to a blog by a digital marketing agency. But within those 15 words is buried one small strand of digital DNA, which we believe is shaping this technological evolution we are all experiencing.
It isn’t a revolution – No matter how chaotic the start, revolutions end up with a strategic leadership, which emerges to orchestrate the coup and recovery. Evolution is different – its manifesto consists of one key principle: Survival.
If that last assertion is correct (and please bear in mind I am no expert) then businesses looking to survive in the digital environment will need to consider relevance much more closely. Relevance is closely associated with evolution. To a Giraffe, for example, it is relevant to have a long neck. Living in close proximity to Thorny Acacia trees is also relevant because Giraffes enjoy near exclusive access to its nutrients. Shall I lead you now in a clumsy way to how this relates to Social Media or should I let you work that out for yourself?
Sorting it out for ourselves is how evolution works. There isn’t one golden rule to effectively market your business to your customers anymore, because your customers are also evolving in this media. There’s a lot of ‘suck-it-and-see’ going on. As we evolve there is the inevitable struggle between yearning for a higher power and hard science. Successful brands are putting their faith back into the species which is evolving with them. They have recognised the importance of influence and authority, but how do you make sure that your business is influential, relevant and authoritative in conversations with customers?
The simple answer might be to ’stop ‘marketing yourself’. But that seems highly counter-intuitive doesn’t it?
According to the European Journal of Social Psychology a key element for successful Social Media Marketing is in the building of ‘Social Authority’. Broadly this means engaging in the conversation and listening as well as informing. It means establishing your credentials as ‘an expert’ in your given field. But this might be changing. People or companies who declare themselves as experts leave themselves at the mercy of an evolving customer base which can disseminate fresh information amongst themselves faster than the ‘experts’ can keep up….
(look …look, more Thorny Acacia trees over there…over there!)
If you need further evidence of the trend towards self-determination, the Edelman Trust Barometer Report noted (in 2008) that 58% of respondents trusted product or company information coming from ‘people like me’ – by 2010 that had risen to 64% and no doubt is growing still. So ‘experts’ are people like me.
I would like to amend my previous statement:
I am, after all ‘an expert in Social Media’
Influence has become a science. Companies such as Peerindex, Klout and Kred have started to measure Social Influence. Businesses which are not only surviving but also flourishing in today’s rapidly changing environment are learning to speak to the influential people in more honest terms about what they are doing, producing or selling and listening closely to the feedback. They have learned to re-engage with passion. This doesn’t mean that science isn’t keeping up. In many ways Digital Darwinists still lead the way because detailed analysis of behaviour is an obvious signpost for where to place your message and how to phrase it to increase sales or engagement. But the yearning for something true, with values, integrity and passion is back at the heart of the marketing industry and simply saying it isn’t enough. It has to shine through the values of your brand at every level and that is where a creative digital agency comes in.
When the late Steve Jobs was still at Apple he said: ‘This is a very noisy world, so we have to be very clear about what we want them to know about us’. We believe this is still the case. In terms of Sambecketts – we believe that creative passion built into the science of online marketing
can lead to more effective marketing. We work with clients to do just that.
30th January 2012
A few thoughts about Social Media trends in 2012
We can’t discuss almost any trends today without mentioning Facebook - so let’s start there.
It’s interesting. Average time spent on Facebook per month has risen to 7.5 hours. Two years ago it was 4.5. Timeline has arrived and isn’t going away, despite the usual chorus of complaints. Timeline is geared towards significantly increasing the amount we share online – after all, with over 800 million users already, the pool for new people (Facebook’s assets) is diminishing and as with any maturing product the obvious next step is to start ‘sweating your assets’. So increasing the sharing activity amongst users is a trend which will continue throughout 2012. This, in turn will have an impact on ad spend.
Metrics for influence
New metrics to measure social participation and the value of ‘influence’ will develop this year. In purely marketing terms this means that forensic targeting of influential early adopters will become more scientific, more costly and more important. Sites such as these three ‘influence’ sites will gain more prominence from the embryonic stage they have been in thus far:
New Social Media players in 2012
Of course we shouldn’t ignore Google+
The investment made at Google is too big a gamble for the gurus to let fall by the wayside without a serious fight. So we can expect Google+ to have a say - one way or another - during the coming months.
At Sambecketts we think these 3 new Social sites will gain significant growth during 2012:
Geo location will develop, putting consumers and retailers together through social channels at the right time and the right place. This will offer the online marketers ever more platforms to get the right message out in realtime with the added sophistication of knowing where the customers are right now.
If you think about it, knowing whether your customers are at home browsing your products or in the High Street shopping right now has a different dynamic which sophisticated marketing will develop to address.