DISCLAIMER: Rated “G” for GURU. Profanity-induced YouTube video.
Are you like me? Is social media overblown? Maybe. Maybe not. However, the folks in the “business” of social media might be helping to overblow it. There are gurus, strategists, thought leaders, and “stakeholders”. Yes, I get it. Obama won the election with social media. Politics is a “social” thing. Very.
However, I am still actively involved in figuring out social media “for business”. Since conversation is pretty social, I don’t think people generally surround themselves around products like a “tribe” (thanks Seth!) unless it has a deeper connection — like a sports team, a celebrity, a famous chef, music bands, films, or crazy games like Angry Birds. Sure, some folks might do more of this with top technology brands like Apple but much of it is left wanting. Games are “social” in a connected state. So it’s no wonder games do well in platforms like Facebook. But GM? C’mon. Look, I am a fan about the Chevy Volt electric car or the Nissan Leaf Electric but I don’t think about Facebook as the first place to congregate and perform deep research. No surprise that GM pulled out. Facebook may be going back with a huge price discount to get them back into the game but I don’t see the point.
And here’s a weird one. Maersk is in social media. Um, ok. I guess there’s a place for B2B in a social media land but don’t see it here. The idea of people snapping photos of containers and adding it to Facebook sounds “cool”. I get it. But brand recognition? 120,000 likes? Sure. OK. How about dollars and cents? What’s the ROI for Maersk, a B2B company, in a B2C playground (Facebook)? I like Scott and his #unmarketing book is fantastic but I don’t see it here. Sorry.
I think Jakob Nielson’s newsletter cracked the nut this week on social media. Based on the analysis of 100,000,000 visits to a broad range of e-commerce sites, the analytics firm Monetate discovered that conversation rates differed dramatically depending on where users (consumers) came from.
Not impressive for the boys and girls in BLUE U/X. How’s that for help on their IPO? Ouch. Facebook and Pinterest are active because they are social. Friends, family, and professionals sharing in some good topical discussions (their industry), life moments such as parties, birthdays, cooking events or even recipes and food! Photos are a large, sticky part of that equation within Facebook which drives engagement and commentary. Any wonder why Instagram is so popular and why Facebook paid so much for it?
People link email marketing - the list - is dead. I know people who make a $mint in newsletters. SEO and SEM by Google are hugely relevant for organic and optimization efforts. Beyond this, analytics tied to landing page conversion and split A/B testing is huge. Don’t be fooled by the social media gurus that have you convinced as if Facebook marketing is the NEW (or only) way to go. IT can be for some products or services. However, not for everything. Like Jakob, I agree. Budget dollars are better spent on SEO and email but I would add SEM (Adwords) and compelling video marketing programs (YouTube is the juice ala Google!).
Look at Apple’s website when it comes to product introduction. Nice spec sheet, some additional info, comparison tables and videos: from engineering, product design, worldwide marketing and product marketing. Compelling videos, strong scripts, excellent demonstration of benefits (and yes, features) packaged around soothing pan and scans plus warm and mellow music. Have a look!
ARE YOU SALIVATING YET? THAT IS VIDEO MASTERY.
Apple is social with its iTunes & App Stores because by their very nature, they stores social for what they sell and ultimately do (let’s for one moment, INGORE Apple’s PING! lol). However, we don’t see much in the way of social focused on their hardware or OSX. It just doesn’t drive things forward. Netflix has done a great job of using social to congregate tribes around favourite movies and tv programming when they launch on their platform - the Netflix ecosystem. Easy to do. But social around features and cool functionality within a smartphone? I’ve seen it done by two larger brands and I don’t think it’s very successful. It seems cold, foreign, and “forced”.
In the end, would you want to be called a guru? Hell, I wouldn’t. It’s overhead and distracts from the real agenda. ROI and conversions to something very essential: a sale or transaction. People can spend all day trying to build value around “likes” and “retweets” and “follow-fridays” and the number of badges I’ve accumulated for my local economy check-ins but if none of this is translating into some KPI — for me, a sale, a whitepaper download, a trial account signup, a mailing list subscription — then, I don’t know if I’d want to be part of the social media ratpack. OK, time for me to get to work adding some pins to my board! :-)
I close with a great post by Mike Hyatt (special mention: great book by Mike!) called “Beware of the Self-Proclaimed Social Media Experts” Excerpt:
For example, I am increasingly being pitched by so-called “social media” experts. A very few are bona fide experts. Some are traditional media people, who are repacking the same old advice using the new buzz words. More than a few are unemployed marketing people who discovered Twitter last month.In fact, I checked out one yesterday who had no blog and only a few hundred Twitter followers. There’s no crime in that, of course. Unless you are billing yourself as a “social media expert.” Then it’s just ludicrous.
The next time you interview someone who says they are a heavy influencer in the social media sphere, ask them how many followers they have. They’ll proudly proclaim, “17,000!” Then ask them, how many are you following? They’ll proudly proclaim, “17,005!” Um, you get my point. :-) Reciprocity works in strange ways. >:-)
With the amount of hard work from folks like Scott Stratten on platforms like Twitter, it’s tragic that he’s got only 120,000 followers (per Vimeo feed above c. April 2012). He literally lives on there. Sometimes, it’s a hard living tweeting for dollars.
Then you have these “celebrities” who really don’t say much — maybe a few quality chirps — with an astronomical following. It’s an unfair world when you include celebrities. So little to say yet so much is heard. :-)
From Twitaholic.com (July 3, 2012) — Top 19 Twitterers
But how could we ever live without our Klout scores and our Facebook Edgeranks? Goodnight. :-)