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Social Media: What’s Right, What’s Wrong, and What’s Next?

They’re coming. The lists are coming, the predictions, the opinions and the trends-all those juicy posts that populate the month of December, they’re coming. So I wanted to get this out there while it could still mean something.

What’s right in social media?

Or better yet what went right? For me it was a mashup. It started with an eye catching commercial developed by Wieden + Kennedy and ended with videos that have been viewed more than 40 million times and total brand views on the web that have been estimated to have surpassed 110 million. What am I talking about?

And for those that are wondering whether it was worth it, sales for Red Zone(the actual Old Spice product) hit $1.6 million  for the four-week period ending July 11, 2010. That was a 49 percent jump over the four-week period ending Feb. 21, 2010 according to SymphonyIRI.  The other four Old Spice Body Wash products also showed a lift as well. Overall sales for Old Spice Body Wash rose 105 percent for that period.

This was a seminal moment in the worlds of social and traditional media. It was cool, different and most of all it was viral which is the holy grail for all digital marketers. As much as some people are apt to point out the #FAILS in social media, this was the big win of 2010.

What’s wrong with social media?

The semantics of social media education. Collectively I think we are continuing to focus on constantly rehashing what the definition of social media is. As an industry we keep redefining what social media is so much, that it’s causing some to go back and redefine what social media is to them. Is it tools? Is it a platform? Is it a mindset? A movement? What day is it?

We are influenced by influencers who are influenced by influencers…

Some are focusing on what it could be and what it can be,  instead of belaboring the effort of trying to understand what it is. The barriers in social media are not so high that it is an exclusive club. Yet some want to create that mystique. I fear that we are getting caught up in the semantics of social media to an extent that it is bogging down not only us, but also companies of all sizes struggling to make money. It’s creating an air of impossibility, and we need to do a better job of removing that notion. It is still an effort, and rightly so, to show companies how to use social media effectively, but please, enough with the definitions of what social media is.

At some point we have to quit focusing on “What is it’ and focus more on the “What the heck, let’s try it.”

What’s next in social media?

One thing that is safe to say is that Google will make another play in the social space. Why? Because Google understands that if you can keep your people in network, then you can market to them, you can sell to them, and they are that much more valuable to you and your partners. Now add the mobile element to this and what you will see  is a continuous explosion of mobile apps, mobile marketing, and mobile sites all geared towards our escalating migration away from the desktop.

Mark this down as well: As Facebook rolls out their Facebook email, look for there to be issues around privacy and data collection. I know, not much of a stretch… But, this move will further propel Facebook front and center as a legitimate threat to space previously occupied by Google, Yahoo and MSN. And it makes sense. Keeping the users of your social network “in network” with their own email, makes complete sense.

Lastly, our online social connections will continue to become more ubiquitous and less assumptive. They may become more platform specific as we continue to search for our tribes but ubiquity we reign in 2011 and beyond.

So what about you?

  1. What’s right in social media?
  2. What’s wrong?
  3. What’s next?
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4 Responses to “Social Media: What’s Right, What’s Wrong, and What’s Next?”


  1. 1 Gabriele Maidecchi November 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    You are sharing my same idea: Google will soon pull out another of its moves. I doubt they’ll be sitting watching Facebook acting undisturbed. And since I still value traditional email, I can’t help but wait for big G’s next move.

  2. 2 marc meyer November 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    @Gabriele, but will G efforts fall flat like Wave, Sidewiki and Buzz have?

  3. 3 Gabriele Maidecchi November 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I think people tend to exaggerate G’s failures rather than seeing the big picture of their services that actually go through.
    They are working every day on hundreds of side project, some of them go live (like Wave), some succeed, some fail.
    They are very prolific in this. Android started like an underdog and now it’s where it is.
    Note, I am by no mean a G’s fanboy, I’d side with Apple any day 😉 But sometimes I just gotta admit they have a way of doing things.

  4. 4 Ash - SEO Sydney November 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    If I have to tell something about wrongs and Rights, I have been observing people are doing things wrong and right at one thing, it is their measurement. While most internet marketers know how to use various data sources to measure their social marketing deeds, their concerns are not the actual standards. What I am trying to say is that: measuring your social profile activities is the right thing you have to do but what you are concerning/measuring is wrong. So, if you are one among the marketers who are still considering HITS as on your success rate, you should stop thinking so and start monitoring users behavior(leads, click on your messages, sales from your Facebook Page etc..)


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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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