David Alston of Radian 6, who is a good person, and will be hosting an upcoming session of our #socialmedia discussion on HashTag Socialmedia, cranks out some pretty good content every once in a while. This slide deck is no exception. In this deck he puts together the top 11 reasons to put off social media and the top 10 conversations to listen for.
Last week, I was at another baseball game, I go to a lot of them, and someone asked me what I did. In this situation a couple of things have to happen very quickly. The first of which is that I have to size up the person I am talking with. Can I give them the high level deep answer or do I give them the “lite” version?
For example, my 75 year aunt gets the, “I’m in computers” answer… which she then yells to my 82 year old uncle, “He’s in computers”…That’s the “lite” version.
If I have someone who I think might understand what I do, I then have to decide how “deep” do I go then? Do I go the route of the, “I work with the internet, internet marketing, online marketing, marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing, social media consulting, branding?”
If I do go that route.
What will best describe what I do to the layperson, who may actually “get it”, so that I don’t get the following question: So you’re a webmaster?
I digress. So last week I’m talking to this person in the stands and I decide to go for it. She’s a lawyer, she’s smart, knows her stuff. Who knows? Right? I tell her about my company and how we are all about search and social media and marketing, and how awesome social media is and continues to be etc. etc. and I decide to try and give her a suitable yet understandable definition of social media. I stumble a bit but think I’ve done a pretty good job and she looks at me and says…
So you’re a webmaster?
What is YOUR lay-person definition of what social media is? Help me out.
Beth Kanter was writing about measuring engagement and return on relationships recently and there was a line that struck me. It was as simple as it was complex for a lot of people to understand and it’s this:
Money was the only one metric for success…
But as I read further, I couldn’t help but nod my head at this sentence:
Whatever the tool we’re using, the right metrics are those that can help us understand engagement and relationships.
So yea, for social media marketers and companies alike, if it makes money, or saves money or builds equity, that’s a good thing. But we can still and should measure engagement and its positive or negative impact as well, which can and will affect the bottom line.
Beyond the obvious. Small business owners closing up. Demand for products and services drying up. People losing their jobs left and right. There is an aspect of this that all of us have overlooked. The customer.
What does the customer do? Where does the customer go? What are their alternatives?
For the brands and the businesses that do survive, what are they doing to keep their existing customers? What tools are they using to keep and engage their current customers? What are they doing to get new customers?
Not that I’m keeping score, but who has the upper hand right now? and who can leverage that?
As I was walking out the door yesterday, I still had the news on when I had heard that Jack Kemp had passed away. I always liked Jack Kemp, and not so much because of his politics, but mainly because he was a former athlete turned politician. You see, he could have easily walked away and had a wonderful life as a “former athlete/pro football player”, yet he decided to pursue the not so always friendly environment of politics. I can dig that.
Some athletes, not all, have the unique perspective of understanding what its like to have their every move watched, scrutinized and questioned-and Jack Kemp was not exempt. Which leads me to the title of this blog post. It is pulled from something he said:
Football gives you a sense of responsibility in a transparent environment…
Shouldn’t we all have a sense of responsibility with the way we engage in the the transparent environment that is social media? The way we converse, create, share and exchange all things?
We should. But not all of us do…
I got an email from an outfit out of Atlanta that was pitching me on my thoughts of what a combination of advertising, micropayments and regular subscriptions would look like for all of the newspapers that are struggling to redefine themselves.
As luck would have it, I had been thinking about and was going to write about the state of newspapers and how they were going to evolve with the times. More specifically, how were they going to make money and survive.
Here’s the easy answer. They’re not. Some variation of them might. But…
Newspapers as we know or knew them, will not exist in their current state within the next 5 years.
Mark it down.
The proof is there and it continues to rear its ugly head week after week after week. Newspapers are shutting down. Newspapers, some deemed iconic institutions, are shrinking and or closing their doors. Why? The cost to produce the papers are outpacing the consumption. Why? We’re a nation on the move. The people, Gen Y and even Gen X, who are slowly becoming, if not already, the dominant workforce, are content to get their news, information, and content,online. We are moving rapidly to a global, mobile, society where newspapers do not fit into the equation of our daily lives.
As well, the next 5 years will crank out college grads, a workforce, and individuals that have virtually zero affinity with newspapers. They will have zero need for newspapers and they will not clamor for their “Sunday paper”.
So where does this leave the readers of the Sunday New York Times? Look for that venerable paper to go to printing once a week, on Sundays. In fact look for the larger ones to follow suit as well. It’s the only way newspapers as you and I know them, can survive in some fashion of its former self.
So where will the money come from? These organizations will focus on the advertisers as they normally did, but it will evolve into using search as a primary function and money maker- where these online publications tie in some type of Adwords function into their sites. Ad dollars will flow but in different forms.
News organizations and Media outlets that control these papers, cannot rely on subscriptions, simply because there are too many ways for their readers to get the content for free. The realize that. No one and I repeat no one, is willing to pay for content that they can find elsewhere, for free. If I’m forced to say, “OK, maybe some will pay for content”. Riddle me this, who are those people and what are they willing to pay for? If you’re going to say premium content, please tell me what you are calling premium and why is it worth paying for?
I know some of you will fight this notion, but then again if I were to have told you 5 years ago that all of the auto-makers would be on life support right now fighting for their very existence, what would you have said? Impossible!? No way!?
Well there is no clear indicator on the horizon right now that says anything differently about the slow death demise of the newspaper. There is nothing to stop it; and there is no one currently in school or getting ready to go to school who relies as much on newspapers as the older generations did.
It’s as simple as this..
Is content still king then? You betcha. But I got news for ya, content is also free, and that’s whats killing the newspaper business.
This has been on my mind lately. It was amplified yesterday by a tweet by David Armano who tweeted the following:
Have you ever bought something from someone you felt you had a relationship? That’s the ROI of social business…
At which point I responded back with:
@Armano Value..think about your offline relationships-the ones that mean the most, are the ones that carry substance.-same with buying habits
So here’s the deal. In your offline every day world, what relationships mean the most to you? They are the ones that are not superficial. Right? The relationships that have substance, meaning, and value.
Less chit and more chat
The ROI of social business. the ROI of your relationships, as hollow as that might be, are both the same- The ROI is the value that you have built up in that relationship. Both from a business and personal standpoint. If you have cultivated a relationship, then you place a high value on it and what it might return. The less that you have put into it, or what you have received, should be consistent with your expectations and effort.
The same applies to any “online” social network or offline. Though it may seem shallow at first to only say that you only put stock in the people that bring value to you and what you do-it’s actually the truth. It has nothing to do with the technology, the platform, the hardware or the software.
Whether we care to admit or not. We all look for value, we may not say it, but it’s true. Online and offline, value in the people that we connect with, drives our relationships.