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February 10, 2011 / assembled

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is one of the most exciting times of the year for someone like myself, whose job and schooling revolves entirely around using and understanding social media. Based on the three events I have attended, there seems to be a universal acceptance that we are truly in the presence of something much larger than ourselves, and certainly much larger than anyone anticipated.

There are several best practices that I have noted, and I would like to share them with you.

First, and perhaps most important is the need to refine and refocus our social media efforts going forward. Ask yourself the following four questions the next time you are forming your social media campaign:

  1. How do we drive consumers to the brand?
  2. How do we drive brand to consumer engagement?
  3. How do we drive consumer to consumer engagement?
  4. How do we extend the dialogue?

Second, it is official: e-commerce is out and social commerce is in. What does this mean? It means that commerce is becoming a social, sharing activity. With commerce platforms integrating into Facebook, we now have the ability to share our purchases or link to point-of-sale platforms. And there is a really unique overlap, in the sense that geo-targeting and QR codes can be used digitally to push consumers into brick and mortar shops. In terms of “what’s next,” the answer is clearly mobile. But it has already arrived.  Commerce is rapidly moving to our mobile devices and soon, our mobile device will become our wallets.

Third, social media is all about story telling. Our campaigns need to be good stories. In the midst of all the content, the good stories rise and the clutter disappears. Avoid disappearing by incorporating the following elements of a good story into your social media campaigns:

  1. Informative
  2. Entertaining
  3. Conversational
  4. Useful
  5. Inspiring

Fourth, national brands with local audiences need to create some sort of continual feedback loop that uses consumer insights at the local level to make decisions at the corporate level. This needs to be refined and perfected. The business that wins will not only have a continuous feedback loop, but will take the notion of social business and incorporate it into its design. Companies (especially national organizations) really need to think about the need for a new function called Social Customer Relations Management (Social CRM).

Fifth, The unanswered question that keeps getting passed around is this: How do we measure success? What is a successful social media campaign? We are starting to hear the word “engagement” but no one really knows what this means or how we can turn it into quantifiable information. We have to completely forgo our instinct to calculate the “value” of a Facebook fan or follower. Starting now, we need to focus on defining and understanding the value of engagement.

Everyone is talking about the future of social media. Because the web is participatory and thrives on two way conversations, the future of social media really belongs to us. We can help shape the direction of social media based on the tools we really want and need. This thought is empowering, frightening, and terribly exciting, all at the same time.


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