Humans are inherently social creatures, who wish to interact. And capable of driving exponential growth.
Media owners no longer control the methods of production and distribution.
Brands (Advertisers) can interact directly with consumers, who can all interact with each other.
All interaction can be visible to hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people.
The cost of search engine optimisation is rising, but the effect doesn’t increase in isolation. Meanwhile display advertising is less and less effective at driving response.
Communities don’t just support brands Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/biblicone
Individuals and communities define brands Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zackv
The internet just made it easier to spot and track
And brands are finally letting people contribute directly Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mycreativecorner
What is happening to media companies? Traditional broadcast models are struggling. U.S. newspaper print advertising dropped $2.6 billion in Q1 2009 compared to Q1 2008. Perhaps it’s just the recession?
Maybe something else is holding their attention? Since February ‘09, Facebook has continued to grow to over 200 million+ active users per month.
What about Twitter? This only includes visits to Twitter.com, which is approximately 1/5th of all Twitter usage (4/5ths comes from mobile, or Twitter ’clients’ installed on a computer.
Consumers aren’t waiting for proven business models
Around 13 hours of content is uploaded to Youtube every minute – the equivalent of Hollywood releasing more than 57,000 full length films each week.
Technorati has tracked 133 million blogs since 2002.
Audioboo has had over 35,000 pieces of content uploaded since launch in March ’09.
Dell has made $1 million plus directly via Twitter.
Zappos made $1 billion in gross sales in 2008, 10 years after launching by concentrating on customer service, using Twitter, Blogs, Youtube etc.
The viral effect of the Will It Blend videos increased sales of Blendtec blenders by 20% from an initial cost of production of $50.
Stormhoek wine doubled sales in the UK using blogger outreach.
‘Community building/crowd-sourcing/social media is cheap’ in initial financial outlay – Yes, but it requires substantial investment in resources.
‘A lot of online content is rubbish’ – Yes, but the same applies to any media. And the weight of numbers means a huge amount of quality content, which needs filtering: the potential editorial role of media companies/experts.
‘Hardly anyone posts/writes a blog’ – Yes, but only 5% of people contribute the majority of Wikipedia work. 1 person creates, 9 comment/rate, and 90 lurk. But those 90 are the scale part of the equation, and wouldn’t turn up without the 1.
‘Social networking is just for kids’ – The biggest growth is in mothers who blog/network due to time constraints. Twitter’s biggest user group in the UK is 30+ males. And age creep means older networks are rising.
‘People don’t want to sit in front of computers’ – Mobile internet access and smart phone adoption is rocketing, led by the iPhone.
‘I don’t have time/we’ll get an intern’ – You need to make time, and devote resource to any community/social media project of a level that can speak for your brand effectively.
How do you build a community? Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dwulff
You can’t... You provide for, encourage and reward community to allow it to grow Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthigh
The 9 steps: Listening Objectives Technology Seeding Recognition Moderation + Maintenance Transparency Integrate it into everything you do Measurement and Analysis.
Step 2: What’s the point? 1. What tangible results do you want? 2. How can you help an existing community, or provide value for people by creating a new one? (And ‘because it’s ours/official doesn’t work by itself!) Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elventear
Step 3: Don’t be different for the sake of it. Most software has evolved to basic conformity for a reason. Don’t try to reinvent the blog or forum for the sake of it. ‘Bad artists copy, good artists steal’ – Picasso. Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/missrogue
Appendix 1: Recommended Reading: Social Media Marketing: Publishing: Blog: Chris Brogan: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ Blog: David Cushman: http://www.fasterfuture.blogspot.com/ Blog: Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ Blog: Mark Earls: http://herd.typepad.com/ Blog: Neil Perkin: http://neilperkin.typepad.com/ Blog: Martin Belam: http://www.currybet.net/ Blog: Jeff Jarvis: http://www.buzzmachine.com Radio: Blog: Adam Bowie: http://www.adambowie.com/weblog/ Blog: James Cridland: http://james.cridland.net/ Blog: Adam Westbrook: http://adamwestbrook.wordpress.com/ Analytics/Measurement Blog: Avinash Kaushik: http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/ Blog: KD Paine: http://kdpaine.blogs.com/
Appendix 2: Free tools: Measurement: Google Analytics (Free website analytics) Yahoo Site Explorer (Inbound link measurement) Google Blog Search (Good coverage, crap numbers) Technorati (Good for finding blogs by subject) Nielsen Blog Pulse (Reasonable buzz monitoring) Trendrr (Reasonable buzz monitoring) Facebook Lexicon (Track keywords on Facebook) Twitter Search (Track keywords on Twitter) Boardtracker (Forum discussion search) Roll your own community website: Ning: Create your own social network. Laconi.ca: Open source alternative to Twitter. Wordpress.org: Free Blogging/Content Management System. InvisionFree: Free, standard forum software.