Social not-working, surely not?

Social networking is a just a phase – the headline jumped out at me, the shock, the horror, surely not? I had just read this quickly on a newswire while my computer was supposed to be absolutely turned off/dead over Christmas and New Year.

It got me thinking, is it a phase? Social networking is a long-known art, as social networking was going on long before a computer even existed. So will our entire social media careers be dead now? Just down to a fad, a phase, a thing we liked at the time?

So I considered some of the issues that we may be facing with this new found channel.

Issue one: Its all about money: isn’t it always? Social networking, it seems, is difficult to monetise. Google has begun to make less than optimistic noises about it. Google CFO George Reyes has said: We have found that social-networking inventory is not monetising as well as expected”. Is this plain speaking for oh shit?

Issue two: Are there too many players flooding the market? Particularly white labelled channels (i.e. a site full of pre-made functions, which can be branded so that people can create their own versions of Facebook for instance). The more this happens, the more dispersed and fractured the user base becomes. 

Issue three: Corporate intervention in social media, with over commercialisation with what started out as a one to many tool, soon becomes a corporation to consumer tool and all the people get fed up with being sold to and may go somewhere else.

Issue four: Inaccurate member data on sites. This is less important to socialisation so users don’t care. With identity fraud, users purposely load inaccurate data. From a commercial perspective, this can create problems: CRM is only as good as the data validity. All that effort aimed at the wrong people. Some say as many as 33% of users load duff info into their profile.

Data privacy has the potential to unravel the network. You may think that this couldt happen, what with all the regulatory concern and cautionary tales. But then again, Facebook had already been caught tracking and releasing user habits back to developers and others involved in advertising initiatives. And what if your average Joe wants to leave? Well have you noticed that no matter how often you opt-out or don’t opt-in, the level of spam keeps going up? You have to think that the data options are being somehow abused. Surely not? Well think again, it’s a bit like a religious cult. Once you’re in, they don’t let you leave. These are the very things that may eventually dissuaded users from enjoying social media sites and lead to their abandonment followed by collapse of the network platforms.

Issue five: Social network fatigue, with people getting fed up with maintaining multiple spaces on multiple platforms. Its further manifested itself with people just falling out of love with the whole thing because it just isnt’t what it used to be. It might not sound like we have that problem at the moment, but on closer inspection, there are people writing PhD theses about it. After this peak, will we see a decline? Perhaps because of the tedium of the operation, or something else happens, it stops being the next best thing

 So how do we make sure this doesn’t happen.

We keep it all together, increased the marketing value to business, re-enfranchise the users and make some dollars on the way.

In the spirit of Rohit Bhargava with his SMO (Social Media Optimisation) rules, and in light of the above issues, here are some of the SMM (Social Media Marketing) rules or maybe New Marketing Rules – NMR – a new acronym!  How exciting!

  1. Our Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers knew the social before we did – don’t forget what they told you about honest communication, it still works today online or offline.
  2. Social media is social – the best who know social, know how it works. Listen, say less, and use two ears and one mouth, in that proportion!
  3. Emotion stirs us all up – a relevant message to the right audience in the right place works; we want to hear, what we want to hear, when we want to hear it  – don’t bug us otherwise.
  4. Its not always about money and conversion and transaction – it is about relationships. Think of the value return of the relationship, as opposed to quick wins and quick bucks.
  5. Social media marketing is about listening. Do your research before jumping in.
  6. It is about you as an individual and your personal brand as much as your brand’s personality,

Please continue the list on in the comment box below. There are many more thing at the heart of this!