The hype over social media still echos, but it just doesn’t really matter anymore. Recent surveys suggest that small businesses are still slow to adopt social media and it also doesn’t matter anymore. Social media agencies, departments, and experts don’t matter anymore.
The idea behind the hype, measurement and rush to claim guru status revolved around the tools and the platforms, all of which were new, none of which really were the point.
The reason social media doesn’t matter is because, upon further review, it doesn’t exist beyond a label. While all the categorizing, classifying and departmentalizing was going on, that which was called social media simply settled into the center of marketing and business strategy and behavior. Everything that we called social media is irrelevant and mislabed – there’s a new way of doing business and marketing for sure, but it’s a behavior and focus on customer involvement that’s become a new norm – and that’s all there is to it.
We don’t need social media tools, social media plans, social media agencies, or social media departments, we need marketing strategies and tactics that are informed by a terribly heightened customer expectation. I’m not the first marketer to suggest this for sure, the idea of engagement has always been a part of the social media thread, but we aren’t moving fast enough to stamp out this idea that social media is somehow still a new and meaningful concept – now that we understand what actually happened it’s time to drop the term, concept, and confusion and focus on what really matters.
Prospect engagement matters
If we’ve learned one thing over the last year or two, it’s that prospects are drawn to the ability to interact with the companies, brands, and messages that they choose to absorb. Marketing and sales must include this desired behavior in order to even get an invitation into the prospect’s decision making world.
Customer experience matters
Traditional lead generation is dead, we’ve all accepted this by now, but what’s replaced it? If being found by prospects is the new form of lead generation awareness, then trust is the new form of lead conversion. Trust happens rapidly when customers have an experience worth talking about. A remarkable customer experience is the most effective form of lead generation
The Internet has enabled a world where we can work in conjunction with prospects, customers, suppliers, mentors, advisors, and staff in ways that make the finished work a personalized experience infused with the real time input. Community sourcing is a practice that underpins all product, service and business development activities.
Another powerful lesson gained over the last few years is that offline activity is enhanced, rather than replaced, by online activity. The careful fusion of hi touch business building that’s done face to face with hi tech business building that enables more frequent, personalized contact and communication is the secret to delivering the most advanced customer experience.
Let’s stop measuring adoption of social media and go to work on simply measuring effective interaction in marketing. I suppose as much as anything this is the major thread that runs through The Referral Engine