Today’s selection is my friend Dominique Lahaix’s piece on Ecairn’s blog. Ecairn is a leading social media influence measurement and management tool, primarily aimed at gauging influence and building networks of bloggers in a co-creation spirit. In that piece, it seems that Dominique is leaning towards my vision of Digital Media (and Social in particular) , and advises brands to start with Strategy (vs. listening, engagement and all the trappings which are only technical and therefore should only come second). As a reminder I have reposted the video of my presentation at Atlanta in 2009 in which I was explaining just that. Sometimes, being too much of a visionary means that you have to wait for years for the mass to come to your conclusions; but this is a flaw which I am prepared to take like a man.
Why should Social Marketing restart with strategy | Influencers & Community Marketing (by Dominique Lahaix)
Wherever we look, we find evidence that Brands get limited value from Social Media:Here is an article mentioning that out of 5000 top Youtube Chanels, only 2% are brands.and here is Chris Heuer post: Social Business is Deadand another excellent one from Augie Ray: What if everything you knew about social was wrong.
The main thing is that most marketers approach Social as just an extra channel to promote products and services defined … when social media did not even exist and with the same techniques and metrics as before.But there is more into it, provided that marketers can challenge what used to know and really digest the paradigm shift that Social Media has brought to business, marketing and sales:
We, in Europe, see ourselves as whingers (Britons are supposedly nicknamed “whingeing poms**” by Australians) and on both sides of the Channel, one keeps hearing complaints about this and that and the other. Yet, seen from down under I realised that our image and potential is probably a lot better than we think and that “old” Europe isn’t yet finished. I asked Joanne Jacobs who now leads 1000heads in Australia to share her view of Europe, social media adoption by businesses and also Asia. I have known Joanne for many years now. We met while she was based in England as part of the Like Minds alumni. Not only is she a social media expert but she is also a trained actor, able to deliver a pitch on stage, captivating hundred of people, with a timed presentation and … cracking jokes on the go without losing track! She came back to Australia over two years ago and we caught up with each other through Skype … despite time differences which, as you will see, are far from being abolished.
** “prisoners of her Majesty” for those who don’t know the joke…
Europe? More Internet savvy than we may think, Australian expert says (photo: antimuseum.com)
Interview of Joanne Jacobs of 1000 heads Australia
Now that Facebook is 10 years old and LinkedIn 11 years old, what is your view of the status of social media in general?
We are living through this transition phase but I think that it will change in the course of the next 5 years to 10 years. One will develop some degree of maturity as to what we should be measuring.
You relocated to Australia a couple of years ago what did you find?
I have to say, that coming back to Australia was very hard indeed for me. Never let it be said that technology overcomes the tyranny of distance. It doesn’t. And one of the main reason why doesn’t is that time zones exist. I was not able to communicate as effectively with the people and the networks that had built up in the UK and Europe. So, it was therefore very difficult for me to come back to an environment which was so isolated that it was effectively between 9 and 11 hours difference in terms of time zones. It was quite difficult too because, even though Australia is a technology savvy country, there are serious problems of interconnectivity here, the cost of broadband in this country is unbelievably expensive and the quality of the connections that we get is poor. So in terms of social media, the community was smaller, there is less engagement, and ironically, they are little communities in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, but we are all disconnected from one another because it takes an hour to fly between Melbourne and Sydney and that’s one of the shortest journeys that we have in this country. So, even inside our own country, we suffer from the tyranny of distance.
You mentioned losing your Twitter following from the UK when you moved to Australia can you expatiate on that?
In many respects, that issue of losing my following was a product of those time zones differences. when you are no longer communicating regularly at least during working hours, with the people that you are engaging with, you will then lose followers because people will not be able to communicate with you any more nor share information nor participate in discussions. For me in particular it’s been really difficult to participate in online events that were happening in Europe or in the UK because they are always happening between 7:00 PM and 6:00 AM my time. By participating in those events, even remotely, you gain a lot of information from various subject matter experts. So, I lost a lot of followers that way and I also lost followers I believe because I started to communicate with other people in other interest areas and I had to communicate with a community locally, and as a result was considered less of an influencer in the areas and the markets and the audiences within my previously connected life.
Yet, all along our visits, we heard claims that “Facebook was passé” and even that “Facebook would be ‘Yahooed’.” Four months later, the news that we are getting about social media is so contradictory that it is very hard to tell what’s going to happen. Yet, marketers from all over the world have invested massively in Facebook.
The question is, will it prove useless, or will Facebook on the contrary, be the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy? And why does it matter for service providers?
Facebook’s footprint is humongous and there are nos signs of “Facebook fatigue”. So many have moaned that after the one billionth user, things would start to deteriorate. Well, it didn’t happen. Socialbakers’ numbers aren’t showing evidence of that. Even though the recurring purges of fake users trigger falls in numbers, penetration rates can still go up (with less than 50 percent of the UK population, and less than 40 percent in France, there is room for improvement).
When Timeline was implemented in 2012, it was heavily criticized and doomsayers predicted users would leave the platform. They didn’t, they just got used to it, that’s all.
Facebook and Instagram have a track record for playing tricks with data privacy on the back of users. Yet, despite the recent rumors about users leaving Instagram for this reason, the news has been denied by Facebook itself. Instagram, according to Mark Zuckerberg’s firm, is even gaining users.
Zuckerberg himself admitted that privacy doesn’t matter anymore. A belief which isn’t shared by all and especially in German-speaking countries, where culturally speaking, data ownership is crucial. Max Schrems even founded a group entitled Europeans versus Facebook, which is filing legal action against Facebook.
Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, there is something wrong with the way the world’s largest social network is considering its users. So much so that might one rightfully wonder, like Dalton Caldwell, whether this is what social media was supposed to be, whereas it was meant to “change the world” to use one of Mr Zuckerberg’s famous quotes.
And the ugly
Very recently, LinkedIn’s Mario Sundar pointed out the lack of style in the company’s PR. This isn’t conducive to believing that marketing has changed forever like Tara Hunt had predicted.
Besides, a few months ago, Facebook decided to tweak its secret Edge Rank algorithm so that fewer users in your communities are exposed to your messages. This is no big deal for users, but for brands, it means that they are now offered to pay for “promoted posts” to reach more users. Wait a minute; what if your average TV network was offering your business advertising space and was asking for more money so that viewers are actually presented with your message? You would naturally be angry.
Yet, with Facebook, nothing has happened. Do advertisers have any other credible alternative to Facebook? As I heard one of my counterparts say at a recent advertisers’ meeting: “I know all this stuff about Google+, but Facebook is where all the users are!”
Similarly, those who said there wasn’t a business model for online advertising are those who praise Google Adwords now. Multinationals spend up to several dozens of millions of euros on search engine marketing (SEM), including service providers. This is no small business.
Social media and Facebook, in particular, are no different from those early web trailblazers. The world, and service providers in particular, should stop sneering at those shaky business models. Internet business is a self-fulfilling prophecy; it has always been the case. This is high tech innovation for you, no one knows for sure where it’s going, but it certainly is going somewhere.
As a consequence, there are chances that we might have to put up with Facebook’s freaky way of handling privacy for a lot longer; that is to say as long as brands are ready to pay for advertising on Facebook and experiment on the popular social network.
Miguel Helft’spiece for Fortune Tech about the recent and much awaited appearance of Larry Page, the new yet not so new CEO of Google, in which many things are debated including his vocal cord problems. However, the most important passage from that story is as conclusion in which page lashes at Facebook for not being open enough and pledges openness of social data. Now you’re talking Larry! I’m almost in love with Google plus again. Let me find my old password…
[is Facebook – and other social networks – gearing towards a closed Internet?]
After long silence, Google’s Page speaks
[…] After extolling the virtues of Googles multi-year effort to develop an accurate digital representation of the real world with its mapping services, he said the company was “almost there.” In a clear reference to Apple’s embarrassing rollout of a mapping application that was riddled with errors, he added: “We are we are excited that other people have started to notice that we’ve worked hard on that for 7 years.”MORE: Facebook vs. Google: The battle for the future of the Web. He said it was “likely” that Google would try to make its maps available on Apple devices, despite its lack of control over how they would appear or be distributed.
And in a pointed criticism at Facebook refusal to open up its data to outside parties, including Googles search engine, he said the Internet worked best when essential data was shared across companies. Speaking specifically about social data, he said: “I would love to make use of that in any way we can.”
I will take part in the forthcoming Social Media Impact conference due to take place in Marrakech, Morocco on October 11-12.Here is an interview I delivered a few weeks ago in order to introduce my pitch over there. I have included a video recording of the interview as well as an embed of my presentation.
What is social media’s place in the professional world today?
It’s actually quite different from what it used to be. We’re about eight years after the introduction of social media in the enterprise so my perspective in this SMI presentation in Marrakech will be that of somebody that manages social media in the enterprise and that has been doing so for the last five years. So obviously the kind of place we are in at the moment is that of the structuring of the initiative. We shall see three major phases in the project surrounding the presentation in social media within the enterprise:
the triggering of the project: proving the concept and that it is really worth doing.
the development phase: how one ramps up and scales.
the structuring phase: that’s where we’re at. The structuring of the organization, the processes and everything else.
With the constant growth and reach of these social networks, can a company survive without them today?
Obviously, certain companies can survive without social media, it depends what you do. If you deal in plastic for instance, there are very few chances that you’re going to be a major player in the collaborative web. Now, if you’re in a market like the telecoms, as we are, or in any CPG market, you’ll have to be where your customers are, and customers are there, online. Northern Africa has been absolutely booming in terms of social media usage and so yes, brands have to be where customers are, to initiate or engage in the conversation.
As a company, how do you know which social media fits best to the message you wish to pass along?
There are a number of things I will dwell on in this presentation. To start, I will change that notion of message, because this is not how social media is working. We’re not working with messages but with conversations which we may not have initiated, or at least not in a traditional way. I will also go through a number of business cases taken from Orange from all over the world (Spain, France, England, Romania), and I will go through all these examples and show some of these cases and their return on investments.
What are the major threats posed by the use of social media in a company?
Well, if you don’t handle social media very well then you could face a number of threats. I think threat number one is just not being there, thinking that the conversation doesn’t happen simply because you’re not listening to it. Threat number two is, once you’re actually there and have engaged in social media, letting things get out of hand. So you have to be there nurturing, every day, and be sure to respond to, if not everything, as much as you can. So there are loads of processes and organization: it’s probably easy to do social media for yourselves, but if you’re a large organization then it is very different.
How do you see the future of social media in the corporate world in the near future?
I think the landscape is going to change dramatically in the next few months and years. We’re going to see a lot more governance thrown in to social media and the way it is organized, or rather disorganized right now. There is going to be massive endeavours in terms of how we train people and get them up to speed with regards to social media, and not just the ‘experts’, or the ones in charge, but the entirety of the enterprise.