At some point the anonymity of the internet transformed into a social networking clearinghouse of daily minutiae and most of us willingly opted in, choosing the ease and comfort of virtual intimacy over a lonely existence of real world disconnectedness. And these communities blossomed, starting with close friends and family then expanding to include co-workers and long lost childhood chums, finally welcoming obscure acquaintances and total strangers with whom we’ve never had a face to face conversation. We decided that to know and be known was a good thing, but never really thought it through.
In part ten of a series of conversations exploring the state of social media, Chris Beck, founder of 26dottwo and I speculate on the future of social networks. Social networking as it exists today is not scalable nor is it representative of how social beings connect and engage. We are complex individuals we are defined by what we share, consume, and to whom we connect. Our social graphs are woven with the fabrics of our interests, passions, and relations. One update does not resonate across the social graph. Networks will evolve to match content to context and allow us to seamlessly connect relevant information and people based on frames of reference and subjects.
Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now. Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this; social networking is not for just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.
Successful business people are always looking for their next rock star employee. The question is where do you find them? The good news is that the latest LinkedIn stats – 60 million professional profiles spanning 200 countries – would indicate this is a good place to look. Many of us already have a LinkedIn account, and if you don’t, LinkedIn is free and easy to maneuver. The trick is incorporating some strategies (habits, if you will) into using LinkedIn.
When Vitamin Water decided to let Facebook users create a new flavor we had no idea that the final product would pay homage to Facebook in so many ways. The new flavor, announced today, is called “Connect” (as in Facebook Connect?) and even carries the Facebook logo on the bottle label.
While social media often commands favorable media attention, the less often told story is that successful initiatives are rare to come by and that there still a number of organizational roadblocks that managers need to overcome in order to make progress. Still, we are seeing signs of progress in the form of new efficiencies, more direct ways to connect with customers, and ways to make products and services better. From my experience working and talking with people in large, complex organizations, here are a small sample of obstacles to look for with suggestions on how you might overcome them:
If monitoring conversations and knowing what you're listening for is the first ingredient in good online best practices, knowing when and how to respond is much more than good etiquette. It's become an integral aspect of brand management and can mean the difference between a flop - or worse, a crisis - and a deposit in your company's reputation bank. It's easy to dismiss Twitter's usefulness as a tool. That is until you figure out that on Twitter you can find mentions of your brand and you can actually connect with customers directly and provide a first line of response. Chances are, that in 140 characters, you won't be able to do much more. But don't underestimate the importance of that public gesture.
Quick explanation for those not familiar with Facebook Connect. It is a service developed by Facebook that lets Facebook users login into partner sites using their Facebook account and share information with Facebook friends. Basically, a single sign-on authentication solution that websites can use instead of relying on building it for themselves.
Larry Page should have been in a good mood. It was the fall of 2007, and Google's cofounder was in the middle of a five-day tour of his company's European operations in Zurich, London, Oxford, and Dublin. The trip had been fun, a chance to get a ground-floor look at Google's ever-expanding empire. But this week had been particularly exciting, for reasons that had nothing to do with Europe; Google was planning a major investment in Facebook, the hottest new company in Silicon Valley. Originally Google had considered acquiring Facebook—a prospect that held no interest for Facebook's executives—but an investment was another enticing option, aligning the Internet's two most important companies. Facebook was more than a fast-growing social network. It was, potentially, an enormous source of personal data.
Yesterday I attended my step-brother’s graduation from the Air Force Academy. The ceremony included a demonstration by the Thunderbirds, USAFA’s Air Demonstration Squadron. thunderbirdsThe show was a rockin’ good time (if you’ve never attended an air show by the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, or similar, you don’t know what you’re missing — really!) — and it also prompted me to think of the squadron as brand ambassadors and 3 things that great brand ambassadors do.
What if all the people who were truly passionate about your brand had a single place to gather? Somewhere that they could share content and opinions, organize real life events, ask one another questions, and just about any other activity that happens in a real community. It's pretty obvious to see the value in something like that - which is probably why many companies have tried some version of it. Yahoo launched and then abandoned their Brand Universe concept. Sites like Squidoo, Ning and Alltop arguably had some version of this vision in mind when they launched as well. Today, word of mouth marketing company BzzAgent is launching their effort, called BzzScapes.
As our social lives, business, and government become more transparent via the Internet, there are benefits for anyone who wants to create and connect.
The more transparent a market, economic theory holds, the healthier it will be. Information asymmetry — where sellers know crucial information that buyers cannot access — pollutes the market. Think toxic assets. The movement toward fuller transparency in the financial markets has a direct parallel in the ecological impacts of consumer goods. Signs suggest a trend toward greater marketplace openness about the environmental and health consequences of products — a trend with strong marketing implications.
Companies large and small have been wandering in the wilderness, trying to figure out how to play with the rapidly growing number of multisided platforms such as Amazon. MSPs are products, services, or technologies that connect different types of customers to one another. Credit-card companies and eBay link consumers and merchants. Google’s search engine connects advertisers and users of its services. Microsoft’s Windows platform has three sides (application developers, users, and OEMs), as does the Blu-ray standard for high-definition DVDs (content providers, manufacturers of DVD players, and consumers). Once a relatively obscure strategic problem, multisided platforms have become important for all companies today, thanks to the power of the internet and related technologies.