New media: a mile wide and dangerously shallow?Posted by Bob Brin on August 2, 2008 at August 2, 2008 2:37 PM
I was in a meeting the other day with few people on social media plans and the brand manager commented that the new landscape was a mile wide and an inch deep. I think that's true if you look at social media as just media. We're facing many, many more "outlets" from blogs to Twitter to Facebook and so on . . . and on. Some have thousands of followers and some six (this blog falling somewhere in between). It's tough when you're a marketer trying to decide where you spend your dollars when you need to include this new stuff along with all of the traditional media like radio and billboards.
Of course, social media is not just another media. It's made up of societies. You can no longer just create a message and broadcast. Each "outlet" is a community. And while you can have communicators discover, monitor and -- to a degree -- immerse themselves in these communities, they can't completely broker the relationship on your behalf.
So where do you invest your dollars and your time? Well, as the media (meaning reporters) realize that much of the real-time dialog is happening in these communities, that's where they hang out to get their ideas and immerse themselves in the dialog or at least listen in. They want to be where the action is. So you too need to go where the societies are, get in and get involved. If you've got nothing to talk about except your products, you're not going to be terribly popular. Diving below the surface is where you find the opportunities.
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As a magazine editor and geek, I actually started hanging out online in 1990 with the Usegroups. Then forums such as SourceForge where programmers were developing new software out in the open were a good source of information. Now there are lots of places to watch if you wish. I think for marketers the important thing is not so much the media, it's taking it deep. By that I mean listening and answering rather than promoting. Talking with, not talking at. That's got to be hard for marketers trained to talk at ;-)
Posted by: Gary Mintchell at August 2, 2008 6:40 PM
Your metaphor led me to the thought that social media is a lot like skipping a rock over the still surface of a lake. Even though the rock might touch down a lot, it doesn't make much of an impact when it just skims the surface. What does make a big splash is when it finally lands and goes deep.
Used to be that marketers would make many touches in the hopes that one would stick, but today there's so much information 24/7 that people just ignore those shallow messages. They only pay attention when a company makes a special effort to dive down lower.
(Gotta love us Minnesotans and our water references, right?!)
Posted by: Katie Konrath at August 6, 2008 3:37 PM
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