A Rude Awakening?

by Jay Deragon on 03/08/2009

writes “ Your Customers Want You To Be Social”: That’s what the Boston Globe reported in an article yesterday about findings by communications agency Cone in their 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study. The social web has changed the way we conduct relationships with friends, family, customers and business associates. This in turn has changed the way we relate to brands, products and services. The result is that traditional marketing methods of communicating in a ‘monologue’ is not only a thing of the past but is doomed to failure in a ‘multilogue’ world.

The worst thing for a brand is not that conversations about you are happening somewhere else, it’s that they’re happening and you’re not a part of it. That’s not to say that just because you create an online community with all the bells & whistles, or are part of one, you’re safe. You need to think about your role and voice in the social web. How are you engaging with your customers? What’s your relationship like? How are you nurturing that relationship?

As a consumer, I love what the social web has done for us. It’s put us in a place where we should always have been. #1.

As a brand, you used to be able to control things–the way your customers received and shared information and in effect the choices they were aware of. This is no longer the case. Like any relationship that is treated poorly, it ends. How will you adapt?

What Will It Take to Catch Up?

There is a race for attention and the race isn’t driven by marketers rather consumers. Speaking out on the social media highway at collaboration speeds never before envisioned some brands and related businesses will be shocked when the conversational rivers begin to topple their slow boats that were not prepared for the rising tide. Today many firms are jumping into social media as an extension of their old marketing campaigns only to be rudely disappointed at the results..

Gartner predicts that over half of companies that develop a social media campaign will fail, potentially having a negative effect on their brand.

“(Businesses) will rush to the community and try to connect, but essentially they won’t have a mutual purpose, and they’ll fail,” said Adam Sarner, principal research analyst at Gartner, in an interview with CNET.

Why? Because many businesses will dive in due to the buzz surrounding a recently successful campaign or because it’s trendy to do so with little thought for the ongoing management and goals necessary for such a strategy.

Social media should be approached as an ongoing marketing activity that doesn’t start or stop with a product launch or a new logo. What many marketers find discerning is that success can rarely be measured in terms of revenues and viewing a social media campaign’s success using traditional marketing/ROI metrics would see many deemed failures.

The emphasis in social media campaign success should be put on the value of the relationships formed and the feedback and data gained from consumers. It is a new dynamic driving values backwards to understanding and building meaningful relations. To think of social media as anything else is to approach it as a “trick of the trade” and to ignore the fundamentals of human relations. Using this approach will bring about rude awakenings to businesses unaware and uninformed.

Get it? What say you?

{ 16 comments }

Victor Kotusenko March 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

RT @walterpike @JDeragon: Most ppl trying 2use social media like a marketing tool fail bcs they ask the wrong questns http://snipr.com/ddrxo

Walter Pike March 8, 2009 at 3:18 pm

RT @JDeragon: Most ppl trying 2 use the social media lk a marketing tool fail becse they ask the wrong questions http://snipr.com/ddrxo

Alan See March 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm

RT @JDeragon: Most people trying to use the social media like a marketing tool fail … ask the right questions http://snipr.com/ddrxo

JDeragon March 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Most people trying to use the social media like a marketing tool fail because they ask the wrong questions http://snipr.com/ddrxo

Jay Deragon March 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Love the exchange going on in this post. Thanks everyone for participating

Mawuna KOUTONIN March 8, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Most people trying to use the social media like a marketing tool fail because they ask the wrong questions like :
– “What is in for me”,
– ‘How can I extract value from this”.

The starting point is wrong, the consequence is that the results are miserable.
Successfull social media marketers share these common value :
– They never advertise, They start conversation
– They think first “how to help”
– They start by “adding value”
– They don’t push they pull

Most marketers are helpless unless they could change their mindset.
If you can’t understand and use successfully social media in the next years, you’ll be left behind by competition.

JDeragon March 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm

The emphasis in social media should be the value of relationships formed & the feedback & data gained frm consumers http://snipr.com/ddrxo

Paul Chenoweth March 8, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I fully understand Ken Stephens’ perception that “most social networking is designed to sell something or get something”. I would contend that those whose sole purpose for using social networking to ‘sell’ or to ‘get’ are less likely to succeed than those who use social networking to create bridges (a not so terribly subjective concept) that might not otherwise happen.

To assume that ‘most’ use a hammer to drive nails is an understandable perception…but it does not account for those who pull nails, pry things apart, or pound/move objects. Social networking is still new enough that all of its capabilities (and shortcomings) are not fully realized. To say that ‘virtual connections are not real connections’ seems a rather obvious statement, but to assume that there isn’t reality in virtual connections that can enhance or begin a relationship seems short sighted.

Ken Stephens March 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Using fuzzy analogies, and subjective concepts will not erase the fact that most social networking is designed to sell something or get something for someone. Virtual connections are not really relationships. Come back to reality!

StarGazon March 8, 2009 at 11:33 am

A Rude Awakening? /The Relationship Economy……/ – As the wave of social media builds the voice of the … http://tinyurl.com/47pm9z

JDeragon March 8, 2009 at 8:09 am

There is a race for attention and the race isn’t driven by marketers rather consumers http://snipr.com/ddrxo

JDeragon March 8, 2009 at 7:29 am

over half of companies that develop a social media campaign will fail, having a negative effect on their brand. http://snipr.com/ddrxo

JDeragon March 8, 2009 at 7:27 am

As a consumer, I love what the social web has done 4 us. It’s put us in a place where we should always have been. #1..http://snipr.com/ddrxo

JDeragon March 8, 2009 at 7:09 am

A Rude Awakening?: As the wave of social media builds the voice of the consumer is getting louder. Yet one must .. http://tinyurl.com/3oukua

Paul Chenoweth March 8, 2009 at 6:30 am

This may be the first time that the phase ‘multilogue world’ jumped off the page for me. The concept is both a solution and a problem for consumers and companies alike. Certainly, companies no longer have complete control over the distributed messages regarding their products or services. Likewise, consumers often face a flood of ‘multilogue’ world-scale information/conversation that reaches the point of becoming ‘noise’ rather than something useful.

I will confess a strong preference to Peter Senge’s characteristics of a learning community/organization and would suggest that corporate strategies for using social media extend beyond the corporate walls to include customers in ‘building shared vision, systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, and team building’.

And I would strongly agree that simply jumping on the social media bandwagon without a well considered corporate strategy is a formula for frustration and failure.

Dan October 17, 2008 at 12:13 am

The Internet is a lot like an aircraft. People don’t get on an aircraft to meet people, rather, the aircraft takes them to a place where they meet with people. The Internet itself is not where social media resides. I believe that the creativity, imagination, and social dynamics are a very very, perhaps vicariously, local.

In the globalization heyday of the NAFTA 90’s, the mantra was “think global but act local”. Today, it seems, we must “think local but act global”.

What continues to amaze me it the balance of nature and I am called to ponder what prior imbalance are social betworks correcting for? Or I could just pick up a newspaper.

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