Can We Shift To Communitising?
There seems to be a precious paradigm shift in the air. Businesses and marketers are poised to make such a genuine connections to their target audiences that it could change the rules of the game forever. It seems that through one of the highest values of social media – that of providing valuable, engaging content to an eagerly expectant audience – the world of advertising could transform into one of communitising: using authentic communication to grow sales, revenue, and profitability. Crazy, right? A lot of paradigm shifts look that way going in.
But it could all be blown long before the transformation occurs. How long until people give up on seeking out and welcoming in businesses and brands into their social media neighborhood? Who will mess it up more quickly and more completely? The big corporate giants as they stomp into the social media forest? Or the little businesses as they dart around trying to wrangle out customers in this new frontier?
Large corporations seem at risk of failing despite the best intentions of their well funded marketing efforts. Already we’ve seen examples of large companies stubbing their toes. And there’s no telling if the hoards of small and medium sized businesses won’t equally poison the water as they begin glomming on to the alluring siren call of social media and its ability to place them directly into a friendly dialogue with potential customers.
I can’t answer the question of who might ruin it for everyone else first, and I’d love to think we can solve for the potential disaster long before it occurs. But I fear most for the small business owner. Eventually, scalable and potentially automated solutions will come onto the market touted as the all-in-one solution for small businesses to step up to the social media challenge. These solutions will be marketed out through the massive sales channels which already own the client relationships (much like mass Pay Per Click services have gone to market). If these solutions get it wrong, the entire opportunity could fall to its knees.
In order for Social Media Marketing to succeed en masse, it is going to take a well balanced methodology which adheres to the integrity of social networking while also demonstrating an ability to offer return on investment. If both the large corporate brands and the small and medium business can get it right, we might see amazing things happen.
But it’s going to take a well thought out and measured approach to succeed. I fear that with social media being so exciting, new, and alluring, “well thought out” and “measured” are going to be in for quite a battle as this portion of the online marketing industry establishes its “best practices.”
I, for one, hope we get it right, and learn to take advertising on to communitising.