Archive for May, 2012

When Does Social Media Really Work?

The beauty of social media isn’t in the online connections.  It’s not about the numbers, never has been.  OK,  maybe it is to marketers, but that’s because they operate from a different perspective.  No the beauty of social media is in it’s potential.  It’s potential to connect people from divergent backgrounds or in the same city or that have the same common interests.  It can really connect people in infinite ways.   That may seem somewhat preachy or full of green meadows, unicorns and rainbows but it’s true.

Recently in the Wall Street Journal, there was an article titled , Why Successful Branding Still Happens Offline.  The article was good but it was really similar to a thousand other articles that I have read over the years about how brands need to do this or that in social in order to be successful.  As I neared the end of the piece, I read the following:

The great social wave is an opportunity that no business can afford to ignore or look at myopically. It’s happening all around us – and to the continuing surprise of many, it’s mostly happening face-to-face

I’ve said the first part of that sentence, again, a thousand times about ignoring social at your own peril, blah, blah,blah.  But the back half of the sentence struck a nerve.  It’s mostly happening face to face.  Basically where social takes off and takes on magical tones is when we get to associate a name with a physical face and voice and not an avatar.  Going to a conference and meeting that person that you have had tens of twenty or hundreds of conversations with on Twitter or Facebook or blog comments.  That’s the money shot.

Whether you do business with someone online or whatever it is you or your company might do with social, it’s always going to be or should be based on some type of interaction and then some type of result.  Taking social offline should be the goal of every online social media encounter worth its weight.

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How Digital is Changing the Consumer Experience

Let me give you a few real world examples that happen every day.  You’re at a stop light for all of 30 seconds and you start to get antsy because the light hasn’t changed.  You are going to make a right on red and there is someone in front of you who does not turn right away, and you lay on the horn.  You’re in line at the store waiting to check out and it’s taking forever.  Forever being about 3-4 minutes.

Why are we so impatient?

Maybe these examples will help. You’re surfing the web and a page doesn’t load quick enough so you try another website.  You want to buy a product online so you do a search and you click on the first result and it doesn’t load quick enough, so you go to the second result.   You load an app and it takes forever (10 minutes) and you immediately start thinking of your next computer purchase with more memory and more processor speed (whatever that means).

What’s happening here?

The web has conditioned us to want everything quicker and faster.  We are become a bi-product of always on.  Meaning that when we are on the web, we expect the delivery of the experience to match the level of our expectation.  The result?  That expectation starts to bleed into our offline universe.  Our consumer experience is on hyper please

The result?

Everyone suffers.  Think about it like this. The more it takes to satisfy us, the more we need- and the less it satisfies.  In a sense we’re becoming junkies for a good web experience which again as I said earlier is starting to bleed into our personal offline lives.  Is that a good thing?  In a sense it is but it’s also unrealistic to think that waiting at a light for a whole 1-2 minutes is unacceptable.  Just as it is unreasonable to think that just because it took 15 seconds for a page to load-is a bad user experience.  The web experience, and I’ll include mobile in this, is now as much about the pulleys and levers as it is about the finished product.  So how do people respond to a bad online customer experience?  They click and go somewhere else.

Too bad for the visually appealing site that is hampered by it not possessing what the user wants- Be it access to the proper social channels, free stuff, or the right check out page, or access to a contact page that provides a direct link to customer service.  If you don’t have that, you’ve crashed and burned before you’ve even taken off!  Consumers indeed.


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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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