Sunday, January 11, 2009

Who is going to "own" social media in 2009?

Doing a little social media reading this morning and I came across a post that outlines who is going to take control of social media in 2009.

The four groups that are said to have an opportunity to control social are (grossly going to summarize here):

Advertising - they create tons of content that is viewed by millions and can have a huge impact on brand awareness, ad reps should control social media.

Digital - because social media is ALL online, the gear heads should control social media.

Public Relations - PRs help clients yap to their audiences so the PRs should control social media because it's all about the "conversation."

Client - in the end, the other three are working on behalf of the client, the client should own the conversation. consumers want to interact with the brand, not the Ad/Digital/PR hacks.

All great thinking here. However, there's one group that's missing and is THE most important - the audience.

At the end of the day, content is created for consumers. At the end of the day, if you're a mommy blogger, a hard working dad, an entrepreneur or a c-suite type, you're a consumer. Social media content IS created for the consumer. Consumers drive brand loyalty. Consumers can smash the marketing dreams of a client with a popular blog post. Consumers create and maintain the "buzz." Consumers are in the drivers seat and will be in control of social media in 2009.

The question is, however, how to ad/digital/pr/clients plug into the consumer control?

Well, here's my two-cent opinion:

Advertising: Consumers know what they want and don't want to be talked to. Advertising will have to plug into this mentality and reinforce what consumers want - an affirmation or reinforcement. Rarely will consumers make a purchase decision based on advertising alone.

Digital: These are the gear heads creating all the cool content on the web. They will be creating and launching the tools for which the message will be delivered - widgets, blogs, micro-sites, video, etc.

PR: Us PRs will help develop what the key messages are. We will continue to evaluate the message and if it's resonating with consumers and help clients stay above the curve, driving the conversation.

Clients: Clients will control the other three groups because they have the budget. They will rely on the other three groups for guidance, but will have some good opinions as to execution because they are starting to get more in-tune with the entire social media scene. They will also remain hesitant because social media is still the wild wild west. They will need good advice and real case studies to help them make purchasing decisions.

At the end of the day, the four groups will have to work in-sync in order to meet the content needs of consumers. Additionally, these groups will band together to propose new ideas, new products and new "conversations" that will be tested against needs of consumers. It'll be like a rolling focus group, but instead of 50 people in two groups, it'll be billions of people, everyday, all day...always changing, always being tweaked.

There will be more FAIL concepts in 2009 than WIN concepts. However, those that WIN, will be big because they will rise to the top of the convo clutter and really engage consumers and activate them. They will take off like the popularity of Facebook in the last half of 2008.

It will be an exciting year for consumers on the social media scene. The four groups mentioned above will be at the mercy of consumers, a group that can crush a brand in 140 characters or less.

Just my $.02. What do you think?


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