Things I’ve Learned from Lately #39

“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.

The Post-Social World – Bran Easter writes in iMedia that channels are merging. What’s digital is becoming social. What’s everything else is becoming digital. We’re entering an era in which consumer needs will be delivered with no action required by the consumer. Marketers can’t think b channel. They need to think about how all conversations are integrated.

Key Takeaway: A marketer’s challenge is not to understand the channels. It’s to understand how people use the channels and identifying how the brand can help be part of a consumer’s solution before they know there’s a problem.

Marketing with Consumers – Marketers are starting to look at their consumers in a new way—as collaborators to help build the brand. SmartBlog shares five steps to becoming a more collaborative brand, including audit your audiences, engage your core, align your content, do it faster/smarter/better and commit to collaboration.

Key Takeaway: One thing that separates social media marketing from other approaches is the ability to have a back-and-forth dialogue with consumers. This can be approached as a challenge, or it can be embraced as an opportunity to create better customer experiences because they’ve been involved in the process.

Social Data for Business Decisions – Social data is increasing its influence in business decisions. Recent findings uncovered the fact that CMOs are more heavily using social data in their operations as a way of informing how their businesses function as a whole. According to Sloan Review, this has the potential to fortify and strengthen the position of the CMO within organizations.

Key Takeaway: The concept of big data has been a hot topic for some time, and social media is one of the key drivers behind this influx of data. Some business leaders are figuring out how to harness it and use it to guide business decisions. As this mindset spreads across the leadership of companies, beyond the CMO, the standard decision-making framework may be in for big changes.

Foursquare’s Uncertain Future – Tero Kuittinen cites a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article revealing Foursquare’s financial woes. Foursquare had all of the hype behind it in the world at the beginning, but it still needed to get $41 million in loans to survive. It still has a great deal of data that could be used for advertising, but its appeal for users has waned.

Key Takeaway: Nothing is forever, and this is one example of a platform with a great deal of hype at the beginning that’s now struggling and may go away. I’m still bullish on Foursquare’s potential as a local search engine. Assuming, it doesn’t take on too much debt, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets acquired. For marketers, the lesson is that nothing in the social space lasts forever. Today’s hype may be tomorrow’s failure.

The Courage to Change - CNN Money chronicles the shift Facebook took in “figuring out a wireless strategy.” Facebook completely reorganized, and Zuckerberg was forced to go against his own instincts to do what was right. It involved a culture-change and a buy-in across the organization to think holistically about the Facebook experience across devices.

Key Takeaway: Facebook was in a really interesting position. Arguably, it changed the world when it came out and was revolutionary in terms of what it did to the Web, but only a few years later, it found itself being forced to change or become irrelevant. It decided to change and have a mobile-first approach. The decision wasn’t easy, and the slow approach wasn’t one Zuckerberg was accustomed to taking. Still, they did it. Now, they’re seeing just how much their efforts will pay off. Whether you like Facebook, Zuckerberg and Facebook’s direction or not, you can’t say they haven’t been bold in their decision-making. Something many businesses today can’t say for themselves.