Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Battle of Content is ON!

Sorry for long delays...but I have been fighting the good fight on the social media battlefield so to speak.   As I have often used the midnight analogy (when it is noon the market is finally mature), it is almost 9AM.  The market is maturing.  We have moved from a place of people being seeing social media content as untrustworthy and suspect to a place of need with trepidation.  Now...I am happy to say that at 9AM, we are seeing a market that has needs.

Why do they have needs?  Because companies are starting realize that they don't own their brands anymore.  The real truth of the matter is that we are reaching the inflection point where consumers are now an integral part of your business.  Some get it...See the attached Coke 2020 video (link1 and link 2 here).  Here is a company that has publicly posted their strategy that states that they recognize that consumers generate more stories than they do.  This is total acknowledgement of the change in the social media landscape.  Bravo Jonathan Mildenhall for having the courage to champion such a bold statement in such a large organization.  It is the mark of a true change agent and someone who sees what is possible.

And for every Coke, there are so many others that don't see what is coming.  See the attached link.

If you don't think things are changing, you are sleeping.  Here is a person that has gone public using social media working to get the CEO fired for his bad behavior in the Mexico flap.  This is a very public whistle-blower out and proud about it.  Oh by the way...she still works for the company while doing this.  You don't think in the towers of WalMart that someone isn't grousing about why they should fire this person for insubordination.  The fact that she still works there is proof enough that social media has influence on what companies can and can't do now.  She is public and can push the button and go viral...just like that.  Can you say bad PR flap for WalMart?

I am off point a bit, but it is always important when talking about the maturation of social media on the marketplace to check in where we are in the morning so to speak. At 9AM it gets more interesting.  There is real movement in adoption.  In fact, the key part of this post is really about how in social media tools/services etc. are now being judged differently by a slightly more savvy marketplace.

In my last post I wrote about features, content and accuracy (I forgot to talk about infrastructure the 4th pillar I added but I can come back to that).  What I spoke about previously is how to dimensionalize any presentation you see on social media tools to help you think about what tool can work for you.  What I am talking about today is what I am seeing as someone who implements these tools within organizations.

The tenor has changed.  over the past 18 months, most of the challenges on the customer side have come from people asking if you have a feature.  Can you track it this way?  Can you analyze it that way?  Do you have ability to slice the data like this?  Or like that?  Most users of social media tools have been very focused on the features part of the equation.  That is changing.

I am seeing people ask about features and beginning to understand what is must have, what is wow to have and what is I know you don't have it yet, but I want it.  Everyone gets that the tool providers are working to create new and fantastic features.  So how do we know that the market is maturing?

 Because those using social media tools are realizing that no matter how many features you have if your content is crap so is the chart you are using to analyze the data.  And while the content battle is underway, people are again enamored with the wrong things and not thinking about the right ones (in my not so humble opinion today).  It is great to see that folks are now understanding the importance of content and how the features of their tools take and analyze that content, but what is sorely missing is what I call the fascination with volume.

There are many instances where I have someone "benchmark" what I bring versus another.  And when the do that, we often get into a discussion that goes sort of like this...

"Hey they have 1 million sound bites...do you have a 1million sound bites...why don't you have 1 million sound bites...if you don't they are better".  (This conversation sounds like Kramer from Seinfeld on too many cappuccinos)

Here is the link to what that conversation would sound like ===> link

When this moment happens, I wonder the following...

1.  Do you know what is in that 1 million sound bites?
2.  Do you know if there are duplicates?
3.  Are the 1 million sound bites accurate? (oh yeah...the battle for accuracy is the next frontier)
4.  Do you know how that number was actually calculated?  There are some who estimate by the way

I could keep going, but the main point here is if you are going to challenge people on content and not the features going forward, make sure you think about what content means, what makes up good content and how much content you actually can have.

Great features are useless without Great Content...but Great Content is useless if it is not Accurate...

But that is for 10AM not 9AM.

Happy adoption folks...if you haven't gotten started someone is eating your lunch today...

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