Saturday, April 16, 2011

Toddler Stage of Social Media

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm", Winston Churchill
Social Media is at the "Toddler Stage" of development both at the platform and utilization stage. The main player (platform) at this moment is Facebook. They are continually making updates to the platform and extremely attentive to user requirements. These updates are sometimes good and sometimes not beneficial. It is like the majority of social media platforms, a free platform so you cannot sink your entire social media plan into just one tool.
The utilization of social media is where the most effort and concentration currently lies (for most). Some companies have the "build and they will come" mentality, that just by setting up a variety of platforms that their audience will be there and interactive. This reality is only half-correct for a handful of companies that have a large audience already in existence. For example, Domino's pizza can set up a presence on a platform and inform their audience using their main utility (website) that directs customers to their facebook page. From their 9,000+ stores with millions of customers served they are going to secure millions of fans seeking promotion information, deals etc. I continue use this example when discussing social media clients because they should not view this type of social media success as what they can achieve overnight.

Having "likes" or "fans" does not guarantee social media success! This is where social media is currently at in its utilization development, a Toddler. The size of your "fan" like base does not dictate successful utilization of social media marketing! As I stated in the previous paragraph, size is not the only measure (KPI) of social media success. Anybody can appear to be a "Social Media Rock Star" if they were tasked with starting Domino's social media Facebook page. *see recent DigiDay article, "The Like Trap".

Likes or fans are the shorthand currency of social media now.  But everyone knows likes don’t tell the whole story, or even most of it.  From DigiDay article "The Like Trap".

Toddler development is characterized by four key components:
  • motor development - this is about body posture and large movements of the limbs and the developmental road to walking
  • fine motor development and vision - this is about manipulative skills leading eventually to being able to do complicated manual tasks
  • speech and language development and hearing - this is about language development, which is a key human characteristic.  
  • personal and social development - this is about the development of self and interactions with others
Let's transfer these toddler stages of development into social media development.
  • Motor Development - this about social media posturing or presence.  Is your presence true to the branding of the company (look and feel)?  Is your social media strategy integrated in all facets of your company (customer service, sales, marketing, operations...)?
  • Fine motor development and vision - this is about utilizing current technology within the social media platforms that allow for visitors to navigate within the utility in addition to the company being able to utilize robust back end analytics to measure and evaluate activities.
  • Speech and language development and hearing - this is the key to understanding and communicating with your social media community.  Listening should always be a key tracking activity because this provides an understanding of what topics and concerns your community is passionate about. 
  • Personal and social development - Once you have established a base of communication sentiment this will dictate how you will interact with the community.  As we engage with our community both at a one-to-one level and group, we will develop personal relationships with our community thus allowing what social media is designed for - Social development.
 Toddler development comes with daily attempts, successes and failures.  The lessons learned from these events takes time to internalize for continued improvement.  We must evaluate the attempts, opportunities and teachable moments in order to successfully navigate the Social Media Toddler stage of development.

Thursday, April 14, 2011