Social Media – The Final Frontier?
Pierre Far, in a guest post on Techipedia today asks the question, Is Social Media the Final Frontier of Marketing? Given the popularity of such activities as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, it’s clearly a question that many marketers must be asking.
As confirmation of the topicality of the question, only three days ago Business Week had a long nine page article suggesting that Social Media Will Change Your Business. A few quotes will show how Business Week is seeing all this.
Go ahead and bellyache about blogs. But you cannot afford to close your eyes to them, because they are simply the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. And they are going to shake up just about every business. … Given the changes barrelling down upon us, blogs are not a business elective. They are a prerequisite. And yes, that goes for us, too.
Still, blogs could end up providing the perfect response to mass media’s core concern: the splintering of its audience. Advertisers desperate to reach us need to tap niches (because we get together only once a year to watch the Super Bowl). By piggybacking on blogs, they can start working that vast blogocafé, table by table. Smart ones will get feedback, links to individuals-and their friends. That’s every marketer’s dream.
In a world chock-full of citizen publishers, we mainstream types control an ever-smaller chunk of human knowledge. Some of us will work to draw in more of what the bloggers know, vetting it, editing it, and packaging it into our closed productions. But here’s betting that we also forge ahead in the open world. The measure of success in that world is not a finished product. The winners will be those who host the very best conversations.
Overall Business Week seems to suggest that the big mainstream companies will still be the ones in control. Perhaps they’re missing the real point about social media. Pierre Far sees it in a different light.
The point is that consumers now have a more potent aggregate power: someone with a problem can now reach others with the same problem faster, build a community around this shared problem easily, and mobilize lots of people behind the common cause more efficiently. That’s what’s new: a significant leap in efficiency. This gives consumers a loud voice that companies have to listen to.
This message has been around for some time. It started with the Clue Train Manifesto in 1999. As the authors said then, As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies. If Business Week does not fully understand even now, how long will it take for the mainstream companies to realize that others are now in charge?