Social Media Directions White Paper Oct21.Doc


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Social Media is shifting from chatter to purpose. Knowing how to apply it for business purposes is a new art and science. We cover the relevant and relative issues in this white paper

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Social Media Directions White Paper Oct21.Doc

  1. 1. The Answers to the Questions Provide the Pathway to Solutions, Relations, Markets and Conversations Yet to Be Discovered Produced by David Bullock Jay Deragon Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 1
  2. 2. Table of Contents What Is Social Media? ................................................................................1 Systemic Effects of Social Media ................................................................2 Is Social Media Strategically Relevant? ...................................................... 4 Is Social Media Relevant & Relative? .........................................................6 Where, What and Who?..............................................................................6 Does Where, When & What Matter?...........................................................7 Does “How” Come After “What?” ................................................................9 Who Owns the “How” Company?..............................................................10 How Much Does “How” Cost?...................................................................12 The Cost of How .......................................................................................13 Where Do You Find How? ........................................................................ 13 How Do You Learn How? .........................................................................14 Why Use Social Media?............................................................................ 16 From Advertising to "Convert-ising" .......................................................... 18 What Is Convert-ising?.............................................................................. 19 Do You Have Social Media Directions? .................................................... 21 About The Authors.................................................................................... 23 Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 2
  3. 3. What Is Social Media? It seems that everyone is trying to define social media and how to measure its ROI. I get asked “what is social media?” from every client I engage with. Everywhere I look online, people are presenting videos, presentations, white papers and even books that offer their spin on the definition of social media. Since all this social stuff is fairly new and evolving, definitions change. So do people’s perception of what it is. After reading, hearing and watching everyone’s definition, I thought about their perspectives. Then I thought about whether these perspectives effectively tell the story. Having something of a simple mind myself, I thought I’d try and condense the definitions down to something I hope is useful for everyone. Social Media Is What? When you break it all down, “social media is communications.” Communications is nothing new, except now the power of communicating has exploded with the participation of hundreds of millions of people engaging in dialog one-to-one to millions. If you haven’t noticed, there are over 200 million blogs, millions of YouTube video, billions of tweets, millions of individuals connecting on social networks. What are all these people doing? Communicating! How Are We Communicating? Social technology has simply accelerated communications. Before, people and institutions relied on phones, email, television, radio, marketing material and advertising to communicate. Now they all rely on this process called social media. Social media is a communications process leveraged by technology. Yet the old process of communicating has shifted to a process that provides reach, richness, and affinity and enriched collaboration efforts. By the way, it is all instantaneous with no delays. Plus it pulls people and entire markets into conversations, instantaneously. How are we communicating? Instantaneously! Simply stated, social media is a communication process that is revolutionizing everything tied to communication; which, by the way, happens to be everything. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 1
  4. 4. The process of social media involves: 1. The use of technology 2. Identifying and providing valuable conversations 3. Distribution of conversations to appropriate and relevant markets 4. Methods and messages that create pull and engagement 5. Building and sustaining an audience of listeners (a.k.a. relationships) 6. Continually feeding the audience with conversational currency; value they can use Making Money from Communication Besides the fact that everyone's trying to define “social media” it seems that everyone wants a formula to define its ROI, as well. The simple answer to ROI is a question. Can you create any kind of return on anything without communicating? The answer is NO. Thus, the way you get an ROI from social media is to learn how to communicate more effectively, efficiently, relationally and in human (not advertising or marketing) terms. Before you ask about what social media is or what the ROI is, ask yourself how you have measured the value of communications previously. Your answer is likely “we never have been able to." The difference today is now you can measure the efficiency and effectiveness of communications down to specifics like whom, what, when and its value is, moment by moment. Communications is the essence of any economy. Like a bank, the higher the rate of interest, the more currency we create from our conversations. However, this currency is driven by the relevancy of our conversations and the use of said conversations by the market of people communicating. This "conversation" currency is like money in that if your conversations create a rate of interest you are earning value created by the interest from people. The value created begins with a relationship with the "market of interest." (The market of interest includes people whom have an affinity and interest in your conversation.) Converting conversations to money is the end result of effectively and efficiently managing the process of communicating value to an audience. Systemic Effects of Social Media A systemic effect is when an outside or inside influence changes the entire system. A system is the collective processes that enable a business to create, distribute, engage and transact with a market. Market transactions come in the form of communications, which in the end create a financial Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 2
  5. 5. transaction, which is the fuel for every business. In any “system” the effectiveness of the connected processes aimed at end objectives determines the value of the final outcomes. Most businesses focus on outcome results, transactions, and when the results don’t come...managers look for “reasons” why. System outcomes can be influenced by numerous factors such as: 1. Competitor innovation that attracts the market 2. Cost of goods increases and shrinking margins 3. Employee turnover which fuels inconsistency and waste 4. Customers leaving due to dissatisfaction 5. Market shifts that you are unaware of and don’t understand The #1 influence that is threaded through all five examples above is communications. If you're not listening to the market of conversations, you are missing strategic intelligence that could forewarn you of the five factors listed above- plus many others! When Connections within the System Disconnect Every business relies on the efficient and effective flow of information. When the flow of information slows down or breaks, then the cost increases due to delays, defects, and breakdowns. This, in turn, results in time being robbed away from actual productivity. Information flows through communications and those that communicate rely on the accuracy and relevancy of what is communicated. Otherwise the wrong communications drive the cost up and performance down. Everyone knows what happens when a business doesn’t communicate (or communicates the wrong thing) to their market. We all know what it is like calling a business that we have bought from, only to be put on hold for more than 1 minute. Then when (if?) we finally get a real person on the line often they are rude, indifferent and worse provide no resolution to what we are seeking. These results are representative of a “systemic breakdown” between a business and its market. Social Media’s Systemic Effect Social media is and will continue to create systemic change for any and all businesses. Why? Because it is a new system of communications that connects people, customers, suppliers, employees and entire markets. The effect is disruptive, instantaneous and waits for no one. The impact of this new system of communications changes everything. It turns old business models upside down and inside out. What you thought was relevant to your business becomes irrelevant. What you thought was important becomes unimportant. What you used to define as “your business” gets redefined. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 3
  6. 6. Don’t believe any of this? Then just sit and watch as markets get redefined, disrupted or displaced by the influence of communications created by and for the benefit of any market. In other words, the people who consume that which you’ve tried forever to push. When communications shift, it changes everything because everything is tied to communications. Is Social Media Strategically Relevant? As more and more organizations adopt the use of social media, there is an obvious difference in perspective as to whether social media is a strategy, a tactic or just another set of promising tools. Our perspective drives our actions, attitudes and relevance of importance to our lives, our business and entire markets. Strategic relevance is a higher priority than tactical relevance. Finding things like tools has less relevance and thus does not get thought of as "strategically important." Unless things are of strategic importance they will not get top management attention and support, it will be delegated down. Is Social Media of Strategic Relevance? In a Business Week article titled “The Overlooked Side of Social Media” the Corporate Executive Board said “Most companies are embracing social media—but too many are wasting their efforts through sloppy management” More than 70% of companies are already using social media; many are planning to increase their spending on social media across the coming years. Whether for learning from customers, building their brands or a range of other hoped-for outcomes, companies are clearly diving in. Unfortunately, few have thought very hard about managing these initiatives. In a classic case or “ready, fire, aim,” companies are committing resources to social media efforts with very little process behind them. The result? A hodgepodge of unrelated initiatives, wheels re-invented and resources wasted. The Corporate Executive Board has found that the best companies recognize that social media are just another set of promising tools and as such are to be understood, mastered, and used efficiently as they journey into the space. That journey has three stages: Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 4
  7. 7. • Discovery: At this stage, the organization is just finding out about the potential uses (and risks) of social media for its purposes and making initial forays. The goal: understanding (”could this work for us?”) • Experimentation: As an organization does more with social media, the importance of learning efficiently becomes urgent. These bodies should develop and steward a learning agenda for the firm’s efforts, using each initiative to deliberately increase the institutional knowledge of social media use. • Adoption: While few companies currently find themselves in this stage, those that do loosen their managerial posture, moving away from oversight toward support. The short story: Social media isn’t a fad about to fade away; it’s a good idea for your organization to learn how to use it to your advantage. The best companies will learn faster and get more out of social media by aggressively managing their efforts. Just Another Set of Promising Tools? In my humble opinion the Corporate Executive Board quoted above is misleading CEOs by stating that social media are just another set of promising tools. Corporate Executive Board influences what and how CEOs think and this statement discounts the strategic importance of social media. A tool is something you give to people to use for whatever purpose. A tactic is an initiative aimed at producing a result. A strategy is the science or art of combining and employing the means of beating competition in planning and directing organizational efforts aimed at winning markets. Communications is the means of deploying sound strategies. Social media is a system of communications. What and how you communicate to suppliers, employees and markets is the science and art of using social media. If you deploy the system of social media without first considering the strategic implications and relevance to all stakeholders the “tools” may hurt your overall strategy. In other words, as the Corporate Executive Board states “Most companies are embracing social media—but too many are wasting their efforts through sloppy management.” Not understanding or considering the strategic importance of social media is like saying communications is not of strategic relevance to reaching our goals. In case you didn’t know, what, how and whom you communicate with as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of your communications have serious strategic implications. Don’t believe it? Ask yourself how many strategies have failed because of a failure to communicate effectively and efficiently. More than you can imagine! Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 5
  8. 8. Is Social Media Relevant & Relative? The power of social media rests in using it to communicate content that is both relevant and relative to a specific audience. What Is Relevant & Relative? Let's start with definitions so we can understand the context of relevant and relative social media activities. Relevant means: 1. bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent to your market Relative means: 1. something having, or standing in, some relation to something else 2. existing or having its specific nature only by relation to something else 3. having relation or connection to your market 4. having reference or regard; relevant to your markets interest Now given these definitions for individuals and businesses to create traction with their social media activities, we MUST think about relevant issues and relative audiences we want to reach. If we don’t, then all we’re doing is pushing out mass media that isn’t relevant and relative to our audience. Sounds like a lot of people on Twitter and in mass media. Where, What and Who? In order to maximize the use of social media, one must first think about where, what and who. Where, what and who are relevant to understanding the dynamics of your market and how to create attention, attraction and an affinity to you instead of your competitors. A few details to put things into context: 1. "Where" is an indication of location. Location is an indication of market presence. Market presence is where you want to be otherwise you’ll end up communicating to the wrong market. So where is your market? How can you find them? Getting answers to these two questions takes knowledge of social technology that will save you time and make you more productive. Where is very relevant! 2. "What" is an indication of interest. Once you found where your market is, then the next step is to understand “what is the markets interest?” Interest is reflected by traffic, readers and propagation of content that is in context to the Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 6
  9. 9. market's interest. Knowing what is of interest to your market enables you to think about what topics, conversations etc. you should create that pulls the market to you and away from them, your competition. 3. "Who" includes the people you want to influence. Influence is and always will be part of any effective sales process. However influence is no longer about mass media rather about “social media”. To understand social media read “Again, What is Social Media?” and hopefully this puts social media into context that is relevant and relative to “how” you reach people and influence them with relevant and relative content. Where, What and Who are just the beginning stages of laying out an effective social media strategy. Finding the answers requires thinking, use of the right technology and the skills to do both. However, once you gain the where, what and who knowledge (which is David Bullock’s expertise) then you have to focus on the why, how and when (what I focus on). Unless you learn how to be relevant and relative you are likely to become irrelevant and not relative. Does Where, When & What Matter? Social technology provides an abundance of data. The data provides information, which can create knowledge if properly applied to gaining new knowledge. New knowledge can create new results if we apply theories based on the knowledge gained. Social media is a communications system, which enables us to engage with interested markets. Markets represent people seeking something, someone or some value that helps them learn to achieve new results. The technology enables us to watch where people are coming from, when they are coming, and what they consume. Given this information we can gain knowledge as to where people found our conversation, when they found it and what specific communications drew them to us. By assessing the where, when and what we can apply knowledge to improve our communications and engage a larger audience. Engaging a larger audience is an indicator of value, in terms of conversational currency. Where Do They Find Your Conversation? Distributing your conversational content to specific markets is important because if you're in the wrong market of conversations, you are not likely to create interest or affinity to markets that matter. Finding where your desired markets are engaged is the first step to “pulling” them to your conversation. I study my data daily. Do you? Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 7
  10. 10. When Do They Engage? Knowing when people find you - and from where - is important information that can lead you to understanding where and when markets are seeking what. Knowing this helps you formulate improved content that can pull more people to your conversation, thus increasing the size of an audience, which increases relevant reach. What Drew Them To You? "What" is relevant because it is an indicator of interest and findability. An audience interested in “what” you communicate provides you with opportunity to add value to what an audience may be seeking to find, if they can find you. Adding value to an audience is the basis of establishing a relationship based on knowledge. Knowledge shared is an attraction, which creates an affinity, and subsequently a larger audience. Why? Because one person in the audience has similar affinity to others who are likely seeking the same knowledge. Knowledge shared is valuable because it helps others gain something they didn’t previous have but were seeking. Besides “Where, When and What,” the Question of “How” Matters Most Knowing how to do anything is the most important knowledge to acquire, before you can do anything well. Knowing something that you didn’t previously know requires the acquisition of new knowledge. New knowledge doesn’t come from past experience; rather it comes from new experiences, new relationships and the learning that is gained from both. Providing people with knowledge they seek is the means for establishing a relationship based on value sought and found. Regardless of what you sell or what business you are in where people will find you, when they find you and what draws them to you is vital to formulating, improving and distributing more value that will draw them back. Pushing yourself into where people are at when you want to isn’t what “pulls” people to you. Rather it “pushes” them away from you. Gaining new knowledge from the data and information afforded to you can help you learn new knowledge that will pull your market to you. Eventually your audience just may end up transacting with you based on the value you’ve been providing. Transactions come from conversations that demonstrate and add value. Social media affords you the reach and the data to learn, from information, on how to apply new knowledge. What matters more than where, when and how. Get it? We will examine how next. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 8
  11. 11. Advertisers and marketers seem to ignore the value of new knowledge and keep doing what they’ve always done. Instead, they keep pushing their useless information that has no context to what is relevant and relative to specific audience new interest. Does “How” Come After “What?” Social technology offers individuals an array of places to establish one's presence in the market of conversations. These places, whether it be a blog, a social network or an established community, are “what” more and more people are learning about and joining. Once people and organizations hear “what” it is and “what” it offers they first jump into whatever network they are most aware of (i.e. Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter). Next follows a natural question of “what is this and what do I do with it?” "What" is Always the First Question In the numerous presentations I have given to audiences all over the consistent, the first question is usually “what.” “What” is usually relative to the following issues: 1. What networks should I join? 2. What should I include in my profile? 3. What is the difference between Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter? 4. What kind of content should I create? 5. What tools should I use? 6. What is important to do first? 7. What are other companies doing well? 8. What revenue can I create from what? 9. What is social media? 10. What should my company do? The answers to these "what" questions represent a desire to learn “what” to do. However the knowledge of "what" is only the first stage of learning and, while important, "what" is not the most important. “What” is Important but “How” is More Important People spend a lifetime learning "what." Education teaches us what knowledge is required to pursue a profession. A profession requires specific knowledge that, when applied, creates value for the employer, the market and the individual. Those that exceed in their profession learn what knowledge they need but more importantly learn how to apply the knowledge to create more value for the market, which wants their knowledge and is willing to pay for it. You may have learned the “what” that is required to do certain things, but how you use what you learned is the difference between success and failure. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 9
  12. 12. When people learn “what” all this social stuff is (and learning "what" is never-ending) the knowledge of “how to use it” to reach specific objectives isn’t something that can be learned quickly or by copying what and how others use it. “How” Requires New Knowledge Learning “how” to effectively use social technology isn’t about the technology. Rather it is more about a new system of communications, human behavior and communicating value (knowledge) that an audience is seeking. The knowledge of “how” is a process of discovery that changes frequently. Knowledge isn’t static and neither is human interest. The “what” questions are usually followed by “how” questions which commonly include: 1. How do we reach specific audiences? 2. How do we track interest? 3. How do we attract our customers and prospects? 4. How do we create good content? 5. How do we know if we are doing the right things? 6. How do we know if we are doing things right? 7. How much time does it take? 8. How do we turn these efforts into revenue? 9. How do we keep up with all this stuff? 10. How much does it cost? Since “how” is the most relevant issue to the use of “what,” everyone wants quick and cheap answers. It took most professionals four to eight years to acquire the “what” knowledge needed to pursue a profession. It takes the rest of your life to learn “how” to apply what you learned and create new knowledge that creates the value that serves your market, your family and yourself. To learn “how,” you need to find the knowledge and the people that know “how” to apply it. They are few and far between. Who Owns the “How” Company? As indicated previously “how” is more important than "what." If “how” were a company, it would be a company whose only product or service was knowledge. Knowledge rests between the ears of every human being. Thus every person is in fact their own “how” company. Every company has people aimed at “doing” what the executives think they are qualified and should be doing. The performance of any company is driven by “how” well they produce, distribute, communicate Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 10
  13. 13. and perform for the customer. The best companies know “how” to create an environment that attracts the best people who know “how” to do certain things better than others. Thus the quality and performance of a company is directly related to “how” well people are enabled to do what they know “how” to do best. An organization is a collection of people whom know “how” to do things well and how to do the right things together seamlessly. An environment that doesn’t enable people to do what they know “how to” well and instead enables others to do things and do the right things together is a company whose performance is questionable. How is Your “How” Company Doing? Individually we each own our own “how” company. “How” well we are doing is directly related to what we know and “how” we apply what we know to increasing value for someone or many. The value of what we know is directly related to "how" well we are learning to know more about how we do and what we do that improves value to people, processes, products and services. Ever notice that people always want to know “how” others were able to do something, achieve something or overcome something? The reason people what to know “how” is because knowledge is attractive and represents economic gain, recognition, benefits and improvement in everything. Old vs. New “Hows” Experience teaches nothing without theory. Practice makes permanent, not perfect. If you haven’t noticed technology is changing daily and subsequently accelerating change by those who believe (theory) that they can create something that previously didn’t exist but if existed would add lots of value. The current accelerated adoption of social technology only fuels the masses to believe (theory) they can do what never before has been done.” And they are doing it. It’s evident by others using the knowledge contained in conversations and applying it to solving old problems or creating new markets.” This represents new “how” replacing old “how”. Your “how” company increases in value based on learning and adopting a new “how” ahead and before other “How Companies.” When another “How Company” creates a new "how" that replaces the old “how” then your value becomes old and useless. Because "how" is all about “how” to use or create things that add more value, more productivity, more knowledge and subsequently more revenue. If you believe (theory) that you know “how” to create more value than others by doing things better then apply what you know “how” to do and never stop learning “how” to do it better. Then, and only then, will your “How Company” increase in value. By the way, learning “how” to do things better comes from communications and communicating. Wonder why social media adds value to learning the new “how?” Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 11
  14. 14. How Much Does “How” Cost? If you haven’t noticed - many businesses are seeking help aimed at jumping into the social media craze. Some businesses are hiring “social media experts” while others are engaging social media consultants. Some are turning to their existing PR and Marketing firms and asking them to get their business engaged in social media. Many, while deciding to jump in, always ask “how much does it cost?” Cost is relevant to value gained. In the world of social media, value can be measured but value cannot be created unless you have the knowledge of “how” to create value. People spend years and tens of thousands of dollars in school gaining knowledge. Then they go into the market and have to learn “how” to use the knowledge they gained. Gaining knowledge and using it are two totally different things. When it comes to “how” to effectively use social media, there are thousands of individuals who have the knowledge as to “what” it is and “how” it works but few who know how to use it effectively. Why is this true? Because the body of knowledge relative to using social media is still young and changing daily. When medical students finish their education they typically go into “internship” under the guidance of those who have learned “how” to use the knowledge they gained effectively and efficiently. Time, experience and new knowledge gained is the pathway for interns to become worthy of “practicing medicine” on their own. Once on their own, they still have to keep up with new knowledge in their field or they become obsolete in practice. Crazed for Knowledge? The word "craze" means a short-lived popular trend; a fad, and/or wild and uncontrolled in behavior. The markets seemed to be “crazed” over social media and that is why many discount it as a fad. The urgency to have presence in the space also shows signs of “craze” to do something and find somebody who can do it. Wanting knowledge of something that seems to be attracting everyone is understandable. However, knowledge of “what” social media is vs. “how” to use social media effectively are totally separate bodies of knowledge and again each is changing daily. Try asking any business executive “What is social media?” and “How should we use it?” and you’ll get different answers every time. Try asking the same question to the current population of those who claim they know and you, again, will get different answers every time. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 12
  15. 15. The Cost of How Knowing how to use knowledge is worth a lot more than simply having knowledge. When business managers ask “how much does it cost” the answers, like the definitions, are all over the place. Cost is relative to value. Knowing what social media can do and knowing how to do it are two different value propositions. Knowing where your market is and what it desires doesn’t mean you know how to reach them and produce that which they desire. The Corporate Executive Board said “Most companies are embracing social media— but too many are wasting their efforts through sloppy management” More than 70% of companies are already using social media; many are planning to increase their spending on social media across the coming years, whether for learning from customers, building their brands or a range of other hoped-for outcomes. 98% of online advertisements never get viewed by the audience. That means you wasted 98% of your time, energy and efforts because you didn’t know how to create an engagement. Now are you satisfied with how things are working for you? You can’t define hoped-for outcomes until you are able to define what something or someone can do for you and your organization. What is followed by “how” is the knowledge to know how to create specific, not "hoped-for" outcomes. Where Do You Find How? When you want to find something, we use search. The results are always relevant to what you typed in for words that reflect what you are looking for. When you type in “how to use social media” you get 239,000,000 references. This many references is indicative of how many papers, people, videos and post have been written on the subject of “how”. The problem is that most of this content says the same thing. How is always in demand especially when things are in a constant state of change. Change disrupts how old things are done and forces us to learn how things are done now. The problem with social media is that now things change constantly at the click of a mouse. So the question remains “Where do you find how?” When you look up the word "how" in the dictionary, it provides the following definitions: 1. In what manner or way; by what means: 2. In what state or condition: Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 13
  16. 16. 3. To what extent, amount, or degree: 4. For what reason or purpose; why: 5. With what meaning: 6. By what name: 7. By what measure; in what units: Now these are words to define the word “how” but the relevant definition is to know “how” to apply knowledge to something so in doing so it creates more value than the previous state or condition. As previously discussed, social media is a communications system which enables that which you communicate in order to attract an audience based on the value of what you communicate. The system has massive reach and efficiency over the old system if you know “how” to use it effectively. The system has real time statistics that can be used to verify whether your communications and what you were communicating was effective. The problem with this new system is that there are no manuals to reference the needed knowledge to understand it in its entirety. Rather, the knowledge rests in the minds of those using it regularly and creating the most value. Finding those who use it and finding those who use it effectively can be something of a challenge. The first challenge is finding a reference point to that which you seek. Then finding the right answer or right person can be a daunting task. Many are able to show you how the technology works. Few are able to provide you with the knowledge of why and how people use the technology for specific business objectives. The irony is that you can find “how” by using the technology to find the knowledge and the people behind it. However, most of what you’ll find is people copying methods of others, which in turn will produce the same results as others. Consider than 98% of those using it aren’t producing relative and relevant results...because they don’t know how. How Do You Learn How? While everyone seems to be rushing into using social media for whatever purpose, the constant question people always ask is “How” to create something with it. Subsequently there are thousands of people “pushing” out advertising messages claiming they “know how”. Since the market is still very immature, individuals and organizations jump into the process following, and in most cases copying, “how” others are using it. Here is the problem with copying. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 14
  17. 17. It doesn’t produce any more than others have already produced. What Are Others Producing? I’ve done a simple analysis of “how” the bulk of the market is using social media. This study is based on an assessment of 8,000 followers on Twitter, over 10,000 connections on Linkedin and Facebook and a sampling of brands who have engaged in this process we call “social media”. Here are my findings: 1. 94% are using social media to “push out” old messages trying to catch someone in a transaction. 2. 95% of the brands are simply using social media to “push” out their offerings, sales and marketing messages with little if any human interaction. 3. Of over 8,000 followers on Twitter 96% of the communications have no relevancy to anything relative that would “pull” a market to them for whatever purpose. 4. Of 50 groups I am a member of on Linkedin 95% of the group discussions do not represent new knowledge, new insights on new methods and more specifically “how” to create innovation and differential using social technology. 5. 100% of the offerings I found proclaiming “how” to use social media effectively were in context to use of the technology, not “how” to engage and build an audience that “sticks” and leads to “convert-ising”. So with this data I asked myself “how” do people and institutions learn “how” to create new value, conversational currency, and ultimately new transactions that motivate others to share why the new value created is better. Where Can We Find “How?” To properly answer this question we have to ask another question. The question is “what person or organization has captured “how” to do anything better and where did they find the knowledge to do so?” Now take a minute and think about “how” you would answer this question. The first part of the question “what person or organization has captured “how” to do anything better than what the current market produced?” The answer leads us to recall industry leaders who have created new markets with innovative products and services. How did they do this? With the knowledge that lies between their ears and the input from people who believed in their vision of what could be done (but wasn’t currently being done) and if done would satisfy a market yet in demand! The second part of the question “where did they find the knowledge to do so?” The answer is that these people didn’t find the knowledge to do so. Rather, they created it. What? Yes, they created new knowledge, which lead to new innovation in products, and services that filled a market demand that their application of the new knowledge created. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 15
  18. 18. Back to the Question of “How?” “How” to use anything effectively comes from learning what is currently working and why. Then it's about applying creativity and knowledge aimed at how to make things work better than the current methods. Learning what is currently working is readily available for those willing to read and listen to those using the current methods for whatever purpose. Applying creativity and knowledge to make things work better than the current methods cannot be copied or found because it doesn’t exist until somebody creates it and uses it to produce better results than what the current market produces. So how do we learn “how”? We can create it or copy it. Which produces the results you want? Why Use Social Media? Besides answering the “What and How” of social media, many business leaders are still at the fundamental stage of asking Why? This very question begs another question. Have you been paying attention to the marketplace? OK, so they say yes then they say "It seems everywhere I turn I am hearing about social media but I still have the need to understand why are businesses using it and why is it creating so much attention." The answer to why is related to “how and what” a business does to engage in market relations with the aim of creating an opportunity for a transaction. Why do businesses exist? Primarily to create value, attract a market who wants the value, and engage that market in transaction. However, the “how” of doing this has changed from “push marketing” to “pull marketing” via relevant and relative conversations that attract the market you seek to you. Why and What Others Will Tell & Sell You There are a lot of people tagging themselves as social media experts, gurus and “certified specialists”. Most people saying so are individuals and organizations who offer “basic skill sets and copy methodologies” which in the end will get you lots of the wrong connections, lots of the wrong followers as well as a bad reputation in the marketplace of conversations. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 16
  19. 19. If you think about the real reason “why” you really need to engage in social media it boils down to forming the right relations and doing so the right way. Social media isn’t effective if you use it to simply “collect” people so you have large numbers. Collecting connections and followers is a numbers game and it is very easy to do so. However, just collecting people doesn’t mean you're creating valuable relations that are relative and relevant to your business. Just “collecting people” means you’re likely to end up with a lot of spam mail filling up your social networking accounts or spamming your blog post. Do you outsource your conversations? Unlikely (and highly questionable!) so why would you hire a social media expert to do that for you? The Real Reasons to Use Social Media There are dozens of reasons but we’ll keep it to the top ten. These are: 1. You will find whomever you want to do business with somewhere online. 2. You will find whatever knowledge you need about any market or any person online. 3. You can reach your market by simply engaging in the right conversations with the right people. This is more effective than advertising. 4. If your business can’t be found, isn’t engaging with the market or worse yet ignoring the market you are not likely to be creating transactional opportunities while your competition does. 5. Communications is a system to leverage your organizations ability to communicate with your market. Social media is the new communications system. 6. Social media saves time and money if you use it right, for the right things. 7. If you learn “how” to use social media correctly then you’ll understand “what” your market is looking for and “where” they are looking. You’d want them to look for you. 8. “When” your customers and prospects are engaging about you, your industry or your products and services - you need to be there listening. Otherwise how will you gain the necessary market intelligence, be enabled to respond or even be aware of problems or needs. If you are not present when and where the conversations are occurring you are basically out of touch with your market. 9. Communications is about reach. Communicating is about relational dynamics between people. Social media provides the means to effectively communicate with your market. However, this time you're communicating in human rather than institutional terms. 10. If you are not communicating (listening first, initiating second) then how in the world do you expect to create relationships with people and businesses that may want the value you offer? When people need or want something in the old days they’d look up information in the yellow pages. Today people turn to search engines to find what they want or need. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 17
  20. 20. When people are looking to purchase something they want and need, more and more they are going online to find out what other people think or say about a product, service or brand. The relevancy that influences people’s buying behavior is other people’s conversation, including yours. That is, if they can find your conversation and if it provides value people are looking for. To sum up: For many, the Web isn’t a place to look for information, it’s the only place. Now do you know why? From Advertising to "Convert-ising" The word irrelevant means no connection to a person, place or thing. defines it as not relevant; not applicable or pertinent. Sound like many of the ads “pushed” in your face, online and off line? Social media is ripping the advertising industry wide open. With online click through rates running less than 2% and off line methods running 1-4% the audience is learning just how ineffective and irrelevant the old methods are. At the same time the industry will argue with these numbers to justify these old methods. I think Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Wouldn't you say that believing in the old methods is insane? Advertising or "Convert-ising"? When people needed or wanted something, in the old days they’d look up information in the yellow pages. Today people turn to search engines to find what they want or need. Each day on average Google gets used 235 million times. While at the same time, advertising online gets little if any attention and less than 2% clickthrough rates. When people are looking to purchase something they want and need, more and more they are going online to find out what other people think or say about a product, service or brand. In other words, after they have found something they continue to “search” for conversations that are relevant to their desire to buy something. Thus the relevancy that influences people’s buying behavior is other people’s conversation. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 18
  21. 21. Convert-ising is a lot more effective, efficient and relevant than irrelevant advertising. Why? Because people conversing don’t “push” intrusive information into the space of conversations. Instead, their conversations about anything and everything are what pull other people to those conversations. People trust people, not institutions or advertisements. Why Is Advertising Irrelevant? Stop and think about the wasteful methods deployed by advertisers past, present and moving into the future. Think about the cost of this waste, beyond the advertiser's wasted spending. Cost of our attention, our time and yes, even our own productivity. Don’t think so? Think about it. 1. How much time do we waste watching a TV ad that has no relevancy to our interest? 2. How much attention and space is wasted pushing advertisements on the web even if Google Ad sense promises relevancy? 3. When you want or desire something do you sit and watch/read advertisements or do you search for what you want and need? 4. Do you think that we as consumers pay for the waste built into the old methods? $1.5 trillions globally. Sounds like a government spend on pork barrel projects. How do you like that affinity and image? 5. How long has the advertising industry been drinking its own Kool-aid? Forever! And on top of all this, the advertising industry thinks that people are loyal to brands! The only context of people’s loyalty to a brand's product is whether the product does what is expected or more and the price reflects the experience and the service (value) from people within a brand, which a relational experience. The only loyalty a brand can instill is if it is loyal back to its customers. Just maybe it is time for leaders in the advertising industry to convert their old methods to the new method of convert-ising. The technology to do so exists today and it is relevant to rate of return, rate of interest and ease of use by and for the benefit of people. You know - those folks whose expenditures have enabled you to continue to advertise the old way. What Is Convert-ising? From the early 1920’s mass media has emerged as the dominant method for brands and merchandisers to “reach” their audience. Mass media denotes a section of the media specifically designed to reach a very large audience such as the population of a nation state. The term was coined in the 1920s with the advent of nationwide radio Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 19
  22. 22. networks, mass-circulation newspapers and magazines. Since there was no way for an audience to engage in dialogue over this method, there has been no feedback or interaction until now. Now with the emergence of social media the audience is expressing its dislike of mass media and a preference for “social media.” Any Evidence that Advertising Doesn’t Work? Well, consider the data: 1. 1-3% Return from traditional mass media methods 2. 96% of online ads never get “clicked” 3. 98% of actual sales come from referrals Josh Berhoff from Forrester says: “Marketers don’t understand channels where you have to talk and listen at the same time. The marketing industry’s idea of two-way communications is to put an 800 number or a web site address in an ad and take orders.” OK, we’ve already seen this, we already know this. So what is the point? The point is if you already know this, why haven’t you changed your methods to “convert-ising? What is convert-ising? Convert-ising is simply tapping into the marketplace of conversations and engaging in those conversations with the aim of creating an affinity to what interest people. What interests people? There are a ton of topics that have an affinity to any product or service. And there are millions of people discussing those topics. The transformation for marketers and advertisers is that while your product or service may not be the topic, the topic may in fact have relevance to your product or service performance. Still don’t believe so? Zappo’s conversations were not about shoes rather, about service and how they stand behind that which they sell, no questions asked. Zappo’s sold more shoes just by engaging in dialogue around service which just happens to be relevant and relative to people buying shoes. Convert-ising is engaging with people where they are, what they are discussing and when they are discussing it. The relevancy of any product or service is people's experience, people’s interest, and if you can engage at those levels you are convert- ising. The difference is you are not selling rather you are conversing with value that relates to people's need rather than your need to sell. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 20
  23. 23. The opportunity for the Advertising Industry is to create a new image, a new method and capture the value which can be pulled from convert-ising. The value of conversational currency is a lot more than the value of advertising. Get it? No? Well, then continue doing what you’ve always done and get less than you’ve always got. Do You Have Social Media Directions? The word "directions" means several things including: guidance or supervision of action or conduct: an explicit instruction: the line or course on which something is moving or is aimed to move or along which something is pointing or facing: a channel or direct course of thought or action: the art and technique of directing a group of people to accomplish an aim. The marketplace is filled with thousands and thousands of individuals, organizations, products and services all claiming to help other people and organizations with directions on how to use social media. The problem is that not all directions will take you to the place you want to go. Where Do You Want to Go? Many businesses jump into social media without knowing what they want to do, where they should do it, who they want to reach, how they will reach them and why the market may choose to engage with them. Instead, too many businesses simply look at social technology as just another channel to “push” out offerings hoping they will catch a few transactions. The market fails to recognize that 96% of all online advertising doesn’t get the audience's attention and thus no engagement is accomplished. In order to get anywhere efficiently, people and businesses need to first know (knowledge) of “where” they want to go and “how” (by what methods) they will get there. Today the marketplace of conversations is “what” attracts the masses to the medium. Why? Because conversations offer new knowledge, sharing and relevant and relative content that the market consumes and uses to create value for others. Today’s road map of social media contains networks (roads to travel) and content (the vehicle) to take you “where” you can engage your market. However, like in the physical world, Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 21
  24. 24. the quickest way to get somewhere isn’t always the obvious route. Unless you’ve “traveled the territory” the shortest routes won’t always show up on your “goggle maps” if you know what we mean. Distance on the internet is irrelevant. Time and productivity are elements you must know (knowledge) “how” to use in your favor. Consider: 1. It is easy to build thousands of connections or followers but not so easy to build relevant and relative relationships unless you're providing content that is in context to your market's interest. 2. You can spend hours doing the wrong things and doing them wrong only to waste time and productivity. 3. You can write great content but if it isn’t showing up “where” your market is, it won’t produce the results you want. 4. “How” to use social media isn’t about the technology. Rather, it is about where, when and what conversations add the most value to your market. 5. If you don’t know “why” you're using social media then there is no need to have clear directions aimed at taking you somewhere. A system without an aim produces nothing. 6. Understanding the lay of the land, the roadblocks, traps, traffic patterns, new roads and where they take you is something that requires knowledge and wisdom. Copying and following doesn’t require either. There Are No Quick Answers Most business leaders want quick answers. When is comes to effectively using social media to accomplish specific objectives to get you where you want to go, there are no quick answers. Rather, there is only knowledge to either find or create. You can find knowledge within the marketplace of conversations. You can also take existing knowledge and create new knowledge which in turn will pull the market to you. Either way it takes time, talent, and knowledge to find the answers... to the questions... that relate to the directions you need to follow get to where you want to go. To follow the emerging directions and learn how to map your own, join us at Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 22
  25. 25. About The Authors David Bullock is President of White Bullock Group, a business development firm. He also is a Senior Consultant with Social Media Directions. David is a degreed mechanical engineer with a thorough understanding of process control. A switch to sales resulted in over $100 million worth of goods and services sold in a seven-year period. David has created very effective combination of processes that lead to increased sales by up to 300%. His unique approach and proven success have made him an authority among internet marketing and business development experts. David is co-author of Barack 2.0, a case study of Barack Obama’s successful use of social media during the 2008 presidential campaign. This book has been added to the curriculum at the Wharton School of Business. David is highly regarded as a professional speaker and consultant. Clients include Black Enterprise, American Express, Lending Tree, RIM Blackberry, and a variety of community-based business organizations. You can learn more about David at and via LinkedIn. Email: Jay Deragon is a Senior Consultant with Social Media Directions. His professional career includes providing strategic management consulting practices for Fortune 500 companies as well as local small businesses. He has consulted with numerous industries spanning over 25 years of professional experience globally. His current professional endeavors are all centric to the disruptive nature of the social web. He writes at Relationship Economy and provides social media strategic services to businesses large and small. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 23
  26. 26. He is co-author of The Emergence of the Relationship Economy” released in January of 08 and can be accessed here. The book was a collaborative effort with three other authors, Scott Allen, Carter Smith and Margaret Orem and the forward is written by Doc Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto. Doc Searls is a Berkman Fellow and co-author of the business best-seller "The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual." Jay Deragon has also written a second book titled “Socialutions: The Emergence of New Management Methods.“ His blog, The Relationship Economy, is rated within the top 150 blogs rated by Advertising Age. He is an international speaker and has conducted in excess of 100 seminars on a variety of topics. His formal education started at the University of Maine with continued education at Dartmouth College, Penn State and the University of Wisconsin. He has certification as a Certified Quality Engineer, Quality Function Deployment, Advanced Risk Management, Statistical Process Control, Hoshin Kenari, D.I.S.C Instructor, Organizational Dynamics and Strategic Planning. To learn more about his professional life you can review his Linkedin profile here. Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Social Media Directions Page 24