Things I’ve Learned from Lately #10

“Things I’ve Learned from Lately” is a regular compilation of articles that have made me a smarter social media marketer. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too.

What Problem Am I Trying to Solve? – Olivier Blanchard explains the one question that companies too often don’t ask themselves at the start of a project. This leads to wasted time, resources and the ability to have something with proven results.

Key Takeaway: Social media is not a silver bullet, but it can be effective in the right circumstances. However, determining whether or not it’s worth the investment comes with determining the problem you’re trying to solve. Social media may be the solution, it may be part of the solution or it may not have a place at all. Without an answer to “What problem am I trying to solve?” you’ll never know.

Social Media Winter is Coming… - Any Game of Thrones fans out there? Anti-Social Media explains the complicated relationship between Twitter and developers and the recent downturn we’ve seen. Yes, some developers are just fine, but it’s ridiculous to think that developers aren’t a little (or more) upset with Twitter’s recent changes to the API. This post explains whey developers might be feeling pretty upset with the recent changes.

Key Takeaway: We are in a period of change right now. Social media is maturing. Facebook’s IPO is raising questions around social media, developers are petitioning Twitter over API changes and has gained attention as a potential alternative to the social networks that have become part of common culture. Things are shifting. Social media will remain as it fulfills an inherent human desire, but platforms are shifting. There’s angst in the air, and I think the end result, whatever it is, will be something better than what we have now.

The Search for Social Media Measurement…Continues – Nikhil Sethi writes in AdAge about the disconnect between marketers demanding consistency with metrics in the social space and metrics used in traditional marketing. He explains that people behave differently when using social media than they do with other media, which means we can’t use the same metrics as the environments and behavior are very different than with other forms of media.

Key Takeaway: Social media can be frustrating from a measurement perspective because it’s made up of thousands of different platforms each with their own metrics and KPIs that brands can use to evaluate effectiveness. That’s the world we live in, but marketers can start to overcome this challenge by making sure the social metrics tie back to overarching business objectives. Every advertising effort should tie to those objectives. That’s where things can be brought together on an even playing field.

The Challenge of Scaling Social Media – Mitch Joel outlines the challenge of scaling social media. The bigger a brand gets and the more fragmented its social presence, the more difficult it is to truly connect with consumers.

Key Takeaway: Without question, it’s almost impossible to maintain the custom, personal feel a brand is going for when starting out in social media. The solutions aren’t perfect, but the right tools and the right staff (attitude, skill and size) can make a big difference. Brands that do get big in social media should also look for opportunities to ‘feel small’ by reaching out personally to advocates and offering thank yous. At a certain point, this can’t be done for everyone, but it can be done consistently to show that your brand is indeed listening.