What’s Next For Social?

I am a tinkerer. I don’t see my self as an innovator, or an inventor.

I’m the guy who can take something, fiddle with it for a while, and make it work in a different way. That’s the way I use social media. It’s adaptive, modular, and flexible enough to be able to work with in ways that are never the same for multiple people or businesses.

I’m concerned though. The social web and social businesses are booming, there’s no doubt about that. I’m worried though about one simple question. What’s next?

What’s the next step?

As social becomes more prominent and more businesses – both small and large – begin adopting and leveraging the tools available to them, there’s a lot to be left as a giant question mark. The question mark becomes, what is the value that you’re offering?

I have no doubt in my mind that there is extreme value in relationships. To that I have no question, debate, or dispute. After we have built and maintained these relationships though, I wonder what the value of social media is.

It’s not like I don’t work in this industry. I see it every day. I see brands bringing top-notch customer service, solid engagement, and they give back knowledge to their fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

But after we’ve made our relationships matter and nurtured our leads, turned them into conversions, measured our bad-ass through the roof ROI, what then? Where is the value? What are we giving to our customers that they aren’t getting somewhere else?

So many 2012 trends, but it’s all for the biz!

I have a huge amount of respect for David Armano. His 2012 predictions are probably some of the more realistic and more credible. My concern is that 5 of 6 of his predictions are “business oriented”. By that I mean the ultimate value is to the business.

If we want social media to succeed in the future, we need to find out where the value is to customers. Ultimately, if the customer finds no value they will move away from your attempt at using social media in their favor.

As we move forward in this next year, we -as marketers- must focus on the value to the customer. Think about it this way: What is the ROI that the customer gets? Don’t think about it as: What’s the ROI to our business as the customer continues down our conversion funnel?

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think is going to happen this coming year. Not predictions, per se, but tell me how you plan on giving value.

Image Credit – Homini

3 Easy Ways to Kick Ass Using Social Media

Supposedly there’s some ultra-mega-super-awesome secret to social media marketing. FACT! That’s not really, 100% true. It’s a lot simpler than that. While kicking ass at social media requires an investment of time, effort, and ambition (maybe even passion). I wanted to give you three easy ways to get ahead on social media and make it an effective outlet for your brand and marketing efforts.

Kick Ass Baby

Be valuable

(I give the worst, best advice, ever.)

Your network looks to you for a reason, or vice versa. Whether you are creating content, aggregating from other sources in order to provide a hub for valuable knowledge and thought leadership, or you’re simply driving thought provoking conversation, your network has a certain expectation of you.

If you’re providing value to your audience you know what they want. Whether it’s articles relevant to marketing, entrepreneurship, small biz, or how to create awesome web designs you will know. Nurturing relationships online is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself and your network online.

Automate some stuff, not everything.

I automate.

The bane of existence on social media. It’s supposed to be personal, and engaging, and stuff……right? Well, it is. There’s no harm in posting an interesting article that you found the night before, or during the day for a later time. Allow people to engage with content you have found on your time & schedule. Or, even better, automate to match your audiences schedule. Use tools like Argyle Social, or Crowdbooster to monitor interaction levels with your tweets an to find the best times to tweet according to your audience.

Embrace competition

You’d be surprised, or not, at how much content is recreated, repurposed, rephrased, reused…the list goes on. Your competition is a source for many things. Amongst others they can be a news source should you not be the leader. I read other blogs and huge content creators every day. As a matter of fact this blog post was an amalgamation of thoughts from multiple blog posts. It happens, but the thoughts and opinions are still mine. I still tell you how I think about them and I choose which ones I believe work best, and recreate them here for you.

There are three easy ways for you to kick ass at social media. If you have any more, please add them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Image Credit - Tattoo_Lover

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