Social Media is the new frontier of digital – this frontier may change once again but not without the likes of social media. Social Media was intended to liberate ideas and provide a means for the masses to share those ideas. ‘Creativity Unleashed’ – everyone has a bit of something they want to share whether it’s a new riff, how to video or some insight into, say, Social Media (hint, hint). Social Media is certainly not a fad – Social Media is however, the media for the masses – a brand can’t simply pay enough money to own any one channel because guess what, if they do, we just find another channel to tune into.
Social Media is complicated.
On the contrary, if I can do it so can you. Social Media is far from complicated. It’s the basic idea of sharing content – if you have content to share you have multiple choices in which to share it – micro-blogging to blogging, video to podcasting. It’s really quite simple. It’s not that it’s complicated – there are just too many choices out there – trust me, over time these too will eventually come down to the mighty few and become more manageable for everyone. For now just think of these are your go to’s.
1) Facebook – for creating personal connections and reconnecting with old flames (if that’s your thing), sharing what you’ve had for dinner or how you had to change your baby’s diaper hurling down I94 (from past experience – thank you) or simply sharing that breath-taking photo you took of a sunset over the gulf during your last vacation.
2) LinkedIn – perfect for wanting to reconnect with those in your professional past and/or present. A way to maintain and connect with prospects or a great way to stay on the radar of those elusive recruiters who never seem to have the time to respond to your one thousand emails. None-the-less, LinkedIn is essential for anyone that is looking to maintain a professional presence on the world-wide web.
3) Twitter – micro-blogging – period. Short useful or not so useful posts that are intended to drive the communication process between poster and audience. Twitter has been a phenomenon that has provided the world an access point in which to share information in realtime (if you know where to look) – the injustices occurring in the middle east has been one shining example of how the people of oppressed nations can get their message out without being filtered by our media.
4) YouTube – sure there are a slew of other video content providers but for now lets just stick with the biggie everyone knows and loves (I’m being sarcastic here). If you have talent here is where you need to showcase it. Remember Justin Bieber was a YouTube prodigy – you too could be the next Justin Bieber (maybe not – not sure what everyone finds so appealing anyway). Regardless, YouTube continues to revolutionize video by providing access and the ability to share unique content.
5) Blogging – one could argue for Tumblr or WordPress or Blogger – either way you get the idea. Blogging is in essence your very own channel to share your content, ideas and insights (as I am here – see it’s easy peasy). Blogging has released us from mainstream media and has provided us with other view-points that we may or may not agree with but has certainly opened up the conversation.
6) Pinterest – the jury is still out on this one but there is no denying Pinterest is gaining a lot momentum as a new and unique platform for sharing – it may be that much more effective than Facebook when it comes to certain brands and their marketing message. At the very least it’s a fun and different way of sharing content – one that didn’t exist only a year ago.
Anyone can do it.
Not so. It takes patience and some degree of creativity. It takes time and the willingness to accept that not everyone is that into you. That’s okay. This is however, where many brands have failed – they experiment and the experimentdoesn’t go quite as planned and it is claimed that Social Media is nothing short of senseless. This is where they simply don’t get it – it’s about building a relationship not selling s@#t! Brands can’t seem to understand that Social Media is in the hands of the masses and cannot be owned by simply throwing a bazillion dollars at the medium (actually don’t even need that much to start out with – but if you have it and willing to part with it – I’ll take it). For once, the consumer controls what they digest and if a consumer wants to tune out a brand so be it – deal with it and move on!
We have to do Social Media.
Again, not so. Don’t do it if it doesn’t feel natural and you cannot contribute something meaningful (at least as far as you are concerned). I am speaking on behalf of everyone when I say Social Media may simply not be for you – individuals have to have the desire and brands have to recognize if they want to invest the sweat equity into making Social Media work for them. Yes, sweat equity, Social Media takes work and time (and some money) but we are too impatient to realize the longterm gains Social Media can bring to us individually or from a brand perspective. Don’t just do it for the sake of doing it because everyone else is.
I was one of those that didn’t see the value in Social Media (in the beginning) but have now come to realize its true potential and its pitfalls. Social Media is not for the faint of heart – what is posted stays posted, what fails – can fails terribly (just ask McDonalds). Social Media can cost one’s careers, personal relationships and some cases the respect of your kids (when you find yourself trying to be ‘all-that’ and connect with their friends on Facebook – not a good idea – keep with your own generation).
Anyway, that’s all I have but you get my point – Social Media is not going anywhere!