Power to the People! Social Media Breakthroughs at Social 2011
Halfway through Mitch Joel’s keynote speech on the first day of Radian6’s inaugural social media measurement conference, Social 2011, I leaned over to my fellow Schwartz Research Group member, Kiley Phalan. In a day that ended with severe writer’s cramp from writing down so many optimistic social media visions of the future, I joked to Kiley that I would name my recap blog post “The Future is Going to be Awesome.” As the conference progressed, more emphasis was placed on how social media is changing the volume at which your average consumer can be heard, so I opted instead for one of my favorite John Lennon songs: Power to the People.
I could write a book with all of the intel I gathered at Social 11, but the takeaways were clear: the world (and business in particular) is in a transition phase. At one point in time, businesses learned how to adjust to telephones. Then came fax machines, the internet, email and now–social media. Radian6 CEO Marcel LeBrun calls it “the biggest transformative force in a century.” I can’t argue with that. It’s been known for a while that more people communicate via social networks than they do via email, a point that was echoed and driven home throughout the conference. Naturally, as social media continues to grow, people are starting to demand metrics to prove that social media is helping drive business. And we have them.
For those of you unfamiliar with Radian6, it’s one of many tools the Schwartz Research Group has in our measurement arsenal. Analyzing Radian6 metrics allows us to identify industry and news trends, listen to consumer conversations, determine key influencers and soon enough–report on your brand’s audience demographics with Radian6 Insights. Speaking of brands, we learned a lot about those too. Marcel LeBrun says “your brand is the sum of conversations about it.” Mitch Joel offered another definition, saying “your brand isn’t what you say it is–it’s what Google says it is.” Say what you will, but one thing is clear: with social media, businesses aren’t determining what their brand is any more–consumers are.
So what does this mean for the future? The Schwartz Research Group has a few predictions:
Demand for Measurement & ROI
Imagine you’re a football coach. If you’re the only one who knows the score, what good are you? Words of wisdom from Amber Naslund, co-author of The NOW Revolution. It’s easy to have a score, but it’s better to know what you need to improve on. As many traditional businesses tread into the waters of social media, they’ll be unfamiliar with what kind of expectations to set. Measurement and benchmarking will be critical to establish realistic expectations and find out if your social media strategy is actually working.
The Consumer is in Charge
“With social media, every customer is now a reporter.” Brands like Dell and Nike are utilizing social media to interact with their consumers. Social media monitoring allows us to effectively communicate with our customer base, ensuring that major customer concerns don’t go unanswered. To interact properly with the consumer, we need to be as human and personable as possible. Don’t be a business robot.
Social media has reunited families, changed the course of businesses and even helped overthrow dictatorships. “Power is no longer in the hands of who has the biggest buck–it’s in the hands of the community,” says Marcel LeBrun. We couldn’t agree more and we can’t wait to watch it all unfold.
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