My entire career has involved some form of digital media. I’ve seen the evolution from disjointed networks like bulletin boards, message boards, early social networks, chat rooms and Yahoo Groups, etc. grow into cohesive networks that appeal to mass audiences. I’ve advised and assisted more companies than I can count, and I’m proud of the work that I’ve done for others over the years. My judgements, ideas and suggestions have always been rooted in two primary areas of consideration:
Generally speaking, if something is illogical, it is likely incorrect. For example, one need not be a social media expert to know that it isn’t smart for someone to badmouth a customer or competitor via social media. It is safe to say that doing so would be illogical, if not merely stupid.
Regarding information, in today’s world you can’t turn a corner without hearing the buzz word, BIG DATA. Newsflash, most of us who’ve worked in digital media for the past 12 years or more, have relied on multiple, often large data sets to make determinations about our next moves, strategic changes and to create new tactical plans. The great thing about working in digital media is that information can be utilized to make more informed decisions in real time. Once one is familiar with the source, intent and analysis of a particular data set, it should be fundamental to refer to this information to make decisions. However, information and data have to be combined with experience an intuition.
Social media is fast becoming the most pressing issue facing every brand. While many companies are scrambling to hire social media marketers, many are relying on these same people to tell them how to use social media. I believe that the role of social media isn’t a ground up process, it is a top down process. From the very top of an organization, there needs to be a clear understanding of the use and role of social media within the brands primary messaging. We’ll call this social business strategy, I refer to it as Social Core Marketing.
So, logic and information; these two guiding principles are what helped me develop a clear understanding of the future of social media for people, brands, entities and personalities.
Here’s the thing. Remember back a decade or more ago and search engine optimization SEO was the talk of the town. Every business leader talked about the importance of SEO in their business strategy. Search engines are still very important, but ask anyone whose career title includes SEO manager/specialist/guru,etc., and if they’re honest, they’ll tell you that there is very little they can do to improve ranking. Most of modern SEO consists of making sure you’re not doing things wrong. Even the folks who’ve been selling linking strategies are seeing trouble in pitching their product. All of these things are moving pieces in the bigger picture.
While the world’s all abuzz about Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest and just about every other social media network, Google still dominates the lives of the average Internet user. The importance of being at the top of Google hasn’t waned. While SEO doesn’t get the attention it once did, it is still a factor of business. If you follow Google’s algorithm updates, you’ll know that since the beginning they’ve worked to fight spam and make their search results perfect. They want to feature what you’re looking for, even when you don’t know what you’re looking for. To get to the top of Google and stay there, you must make sure that your website is playing by the rules of ranking. You also need to make sure that your brand has a social business strategy that supports your goals.
Social media is here to stay. I predict that the landscape of leadership in social media sites and technology will continue to evolve. There may come a day when Facebook is no longer the top social media site. I don’t seen Google going anywhere. They’ll maintain their dominance by making sense of the social media universe by aligning information with queries.
That’s why any business that relegates social media to a mere task, managed by a specialist, guru or other self proclaimed expert title, will find that they wished that they had the foresight to consider the bigger picture of social media..
If you do one thing and one thing only after reading about this, think about sentiment. Think about recent news, including negative information about a brand, was their social media resolve strong enough to overcome negative sentiment? It is all about sentiment, and a brand should have a strategy to manage their sentiment to maintain a positive profile. This is more difficult than one may think, a clear external view is crucial.