The nature of the new tools coming out in the social media space shows that the world is changing. Not too long ago, Twitter was the domain of insiders, and the term “MySpace refugee,” the result of the migration to Facebook, had not yet entered the cultural lexicon. In garages across the country, new social media platforms were being developed and launched … and they had a fighting chance at survival. The change in innovation, however, indicates that we’re entering a new phase in the social media evolution.
Looking for more retail and social media action? Well, it seems MSNBC can’t give enough of it (link takes you to vide0). Toys “R” Us is pitching via both Facebook and Twitter as a way to communicate deals to the most loyal customers — i.e., those willing to become “friends with,” “fans of” or “followers of” the company. Sears is following suit. In general, this has been a tool for building hype in advance of Black Friday, the hypest day of the retail year.
In general, there’s a lot of action going on with retailers and tools like Facebook and Twitter. This is likely the “proof of concept” year for the technology. Next year, the stakes will be high, and the consequences of losing profound.
I’m still surprised by how little tweeting some publicists do. You’d think that they’d want to maximize the coverage their clients receive. Yet, I’m continually stunned by how little this happens. Active tweeting can kick off a virtuous cycle that benefits the writer, publicist and client.
For bloggers especially, performance matters. Success is defined by how much we write and how much it’s read. The presence of “tweet counters” on many blogs has made retweets a new metric, as well, even though it’s a subordinate measure of readership. As the retweets tick up, we look good. If we know that the publicist is part of the reason, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll cover your clients more. When this happens, the publicist wins: both coverage and readership are demonstrably higher (and the retainer, too, maybe?).
Businesses looking to promote themselves in the social media world are either eager to find new opportunities or have faced the reality that they’ll soon have no choice but to venture into this space. As with any endeavor, though, trying to do everything will ultimately yield nothing. You need to understand the alternatives available and select those that are most manageable given the resources you have and will deliver the biggest bang for your buck.
While most of these tools – such as Twitter, Facebook and Digg – have many similar features, there are subtle differences among them, which will factor into the execution of your social media plan. Sometimes, you don’t really know what you’re getting into until you’re knee-deep and watching the water rise. Just by having a sense of what’s out there, you can focus your efforts on the tools that are most likely to address your specific needs.
I’m involved in a social networking/Web 2.0-type project right now (and I refuse to disclose any details). Thanks to Vanity Fair, I just got a lesson in what happens if you fuck up. Needless to say, I’ll be keeping a close eye on my progress.
Just check out the video below …