It has been a long time since I last blogged, 4 months in fact. Nokia has been busy, good busy, but it put personal blogging firmly on the back burner!
But, even though I haven’t been talking I haven’t stopped listening or stopped thinking, and the more I listen and think, and look at the way companies are approaching social media the more I think we are living in a bubble (yup, I know I have said that before) and the more I think that bubble will burst… I feel we (brands) are all doing it wrong, we are all talking about “thinking like editors”, like people fighting for attention in social media like we fight for attention in regular PR, ATL and digital media. I am speaking on 3 Social Media Week panels this week (‘Likeminds – Future of brand comms’, Monday, ‘Not just another Facebook page’ on Tuesday and ‘Me me me, the battle for attention’ on Wednesday). The common theme here is obvious – How do we get our message across in social, how do we gain people’s attention?
This is the wrong question, completely utterly wrong, I realised this last week, I was driving home and I began thinking about when I last engaged with a brand in social, which brands I (as a consumer) followed, which brands my friends (outside the industry) followed and interacted with and I had the realisation that outside of the industry I followed 1 brand (betfair on twitter, their hilarious), I didn’t want to follow any more, not really, I don’t care how interesting their content is, I don’t care how cool they are, I just don’t. Many consumers don’t. I then began thinking about where my information comes from, the information I trust, the information I use to make purchasing decisions. It comes from my friends, colleagues and acquaintances and from the internet, blogs and (surprisingly often) forums. And here is the thing that hit me – These people, all of them, the big ticket bloggers, the forum users, the mates I talk to, they all have passions, and I trust them on the subjects they are passionate about, I am then influenced by the brands they advocate.
Not a fully formed argument but something to think about: The future of social media marketing has nothing to do with your facebook page, your twitter account, your blog or any other owned property, it has nothing to do with viral videos… It is all about Advocate relationships – that is, relationships with those people who are passionate about your brand, your industry and the key sectors you want to penetrate / have stories to tell within. It is these people who spread your message, it is these people who sell your products and these people who you need to look after. That is where our focus should be.
We need to stop thinking about how we get other peoples attention to spend their down time focussed on us and our content, our facebook pages etc. and start thinking about how we get them to spend, even a small portion of their time, talking about us, online, offline and everywhere.