Take the "media" out of social media and you're left with the word "social". It's easy to be tangled in metrics about what makes social media successful and overlook that simple point. Facebook and the like suit our present communication needs, so we use it. It works because connecting with people through social media is easy in a time starved and an otherwise disconnected daily existence.
How many of us find emailing someone next to us at work far easier (and quicker) than starting a conversation? It's often much simpler to say happy birthday to a close friend on a social network than sending a (paper) card - great for trees but not so good if you're trying to sell birthday cards…
Have a look at the huge growth rate of social media over the past few years
- it takes about 10 seconds to watch the little blue dot representing Facebook.com bubble up and eclipse everything else in its path between 2006-2009. We'd expect a similar trend if the Interaction Consortium did a worldwide piece. The US, for example has internet users checking Facebook every 37 minutes, they post to Flickr 5 times a day, watch YouTube for 2.5 hrs a day and update Twitter every 3 hours… according to Razorfish
But stats and technology aside, we're still in the realm of social significance. Whether a brand communicates outside or within social media, we need to question: does it provide value or hold any significance in our social exchanges? In other words, will anyone talk about it? Would anyone really care?
A Razorfish survey puts it bluntly: "Consumers don't want conversation with brands - they want deals". We can just as easily say "…they want value". And it's easy to offer value in terms of deals - a discount / a "free coke and fries…" but when a product offers value just with an association to its brand - that's an exchange we're more than willing to pay for.
Speeding down this technological highway we're leaving commodities and services for experiences posts Laurel Papworth
. Deals are great but in an "Experiential Economy" they're only as good as the experience we want out of them. Who would go for a 50% or even a 99% discount from a product that has 0% value to us? An experience that no one wants, even for free would have next to no takers (apart from a few freebie hunters).
"The best job in the world" is a prime example of the value of experience. The experience of typing on a keyboard is just that much better from a tropical beach bungalow than a crammed office - even with walls decorated with snow peaked mountains, climbers scaling cliffs, sail boats etc. above words like "leadership", "direction", "motivation" and "Freedom"…
The point is "real" experiences are what makes social waves. If the service or product offered are the best vehicles to these, they'll be big waves!
And the experiences don't even need to be direct - most of the time they're not. It's even easier for a brand to offer experience by association. Like the teenage boy branding himself with his favorite band, absorbing more of the lifestyle and experiences the band promotes the more paraphernalia he buys.
Hear more at Sydney Social Media Marketing 2010 Bootcamp - The Era of Marketing
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