2011 trends: ROI and what social media is NOT

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2011/01/20 · 22 comments 10,244 views

in a dos and don'ts,c corporate blogging,e marketing 101 social media trendwatch

The My.ComMetrics 2011 trend briefing series, consisting of 25 blog posts and 7 webinars about trends to watch and social media monitoring DOs and DON’Ts, has addressed some of the pitfalls we need to watch out for in 2011, including:

Image - cross-border shopping using the Internet - EU shoppers prefer local website over others - small percentage shops online using vendor from other country.As the graphic illustrates, European consumers still prefer shopping local e-commerce sites. This explains in part why Amazon opened a new Italian website in November 2010. The latter is managed from Amazon’s Paris offices and deliveries are handled by its 360,000 square foot distribution center at Montelimar in southern France.

But what role does social media play in all this? Are customer referrals and endorsements making a difference to the way you shop online? Is the increasing content of good enough quality to serve your informational needs? How do you feel when your favorite online community is taken offline?

    1. Will you be around for my anniversary?

In most cases, things happen very quickly in social media and on the web. Even after just a week, it can be near impossible to find someone’s tweet and average users usually give up quickly.

While various tools such as Ning have made it easy for users to create a social network, keeping it alive is a bit more difficult, one reason being that it now costs not only money, but time. For instance, a few months back I visited one of my favorite social network sites and found the screen below.

Image - Ning - social media networking site gone offline - all content lost because nobody archived it before it closed down.

Tip 1: Things come and go. Most tweets or Facebook status updates will not show in the first 20 search results served by your favorite search engine and be forgotten in less than 30 days.

The only place where you set the rules is your own blog or webpage, so quality content MUST be posted there.

ResourceArchiving the web – Born digital – National libraries start to preserve the web, but cannot save everything, and Un-social media: 6 keys to success

    2. Lots of stuff, but where is the original content?

Image - AKuhn - tweet - Finally a “Daily Me” that makes sense, goodbye paperli, welcome http://twittertim.es!You can slice and dice it in different ways: both Paper.li and twittertim.es are examples of sites where people can share their Twitter feed or other things they find on the web. In turn, the software produces a ‘virtual newspaper’ of tweets, those we follow on Twitter and so forth. Producing such a newspaper may be quick and easy, but does anyone want to read this recycled content?

Tip 2: Repeating the same content over and over does not make it better. Sometimes, less is more and the best situation is when recipients value your content enough to crave it, like Godiva chocolates.

Sign up with your email to get our next post first; you’ll be glad you did.

    3. Can you trust customer testimonials and will your question be answered?

So your favorite social network shut down and nobody wants to read your personal newspaper, but what about customer testimonials about a product or vendor, another Facebook Like and so on? Can you trust such recommendations?

My experience has been that barely 50 percent of the comments or reviews I find on Amazon match my own reactions to the same content. This means that I will be disenchanted with half of the content I buy based on such recommendations.

Nevertheless, is social media really making things more personable? Not so much. Recently I came across this:

Image - Quote from Lucy Kellaway - time to spit out more words of praise for Apple - CEO Jobs' priorities do not include helping students write papers.

But I wonder if a Fortune 500 CEO becomes more accessible to lowly workers in New Delhi by writing an internal blog. Just because the CEO blogs or writes emails like Steve Jobs sometimes does (e.g., 2011-01-14 media release – Jobs takes indefinite medical leave), does not mean you will get answers to your questions.

Nor can a client expect to get a reply to a comment left somewhere or a personal answer from Steve Jobs via email:

Tip: Social media may make it easier to reach people, but being personable is not scalable. When did you write your last birthday card with a fountain pen or reply directly to a customer’s email? Time is limited, spend it wisely on social media.

    Bottom line and take-aways

Addressing the issues outlined above enables understanding of how social media may change some things (i.e. more recycled content), but fail to change many others (e.g., quality original content is still hard to come by).

If you like this post, please share it with your friends. How about asking them to comment after reading, I love to hear what people think!

Are you with me on these critical challenges? Please leave a comment; the floor is yours!

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  • http://flavors.me/40deuce 40deuce

    Great tips Urs. I especially like “being personable is not scalable”. We can try to put ourselves out as personal through social media, but that can only be done to a certain level no matter how hard we try.Cheers,Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos (http://sysomos.com)

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      “Great tips Urs. I especially like ‘being personable is not scalable’.”

      @40deuce thanks for the flowers. Yes and this scalability issue is the Achilles heel of social media because customers demand a personable and authentic response. Unfortunately, we have limited time only.

      Sheldon thanks for sharing.

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  • http://twitter.com/AldoGnocchi Aldo Gnocchi

    Hi Urs,nnThanks for the interesting article Urs, nnAs I once set up the “socialmediainsight.ning.com” community I wanted to tell you why this community is no longer online.nnAs you figured out in this article one critical factors is TIME. Since I have to work, study and also have a private life I had to made a decision about to continue this community or not. nSure, this sounds not as a reasonable explanation. Since the return I had from this community – I’m not thinking in financial, but qualitative dimensions – was quite low, and I also had to pay for this community (formerly for free), I took the community offline. nnSure there were some great contributors – like you Urs – but this does not mean that I lost my members. What’s more lot ot the content on this community was “recycled content”. From my point of view the concept behind socialmediainsight.ning.com was not planned well enough and the objectives not realistic.nnSocial Media allowed me to connect with these people in various ways (Facebook, Twitter, Xing, you name it) and keep up the relationship with them. What’s more, I also set-up a Facebook page for the members of my former Ning community. So I offered an alternative for all community members to stay connected and share great content, thoughts and insights. What’s interesting is that the participation on this Facebook page is very low. nnYes you are right Urs: “things happen very quickly in social media and on the web” and also “being personable is not scalable”. This is why one needs to focus on a few social media channels and therefor be active, accessible as well as responsive in these. Like you are doing it here! Congratulations! You do a very good job!nnCheers,nAldonn

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      What a great comment @aldoGnocchi about what social media is NOT.nnI agree it is a question of optimising one’s resources such as financial as well as time-wise. u00a0You closed your community on Ning primarily for TWO reasons:nn1 u00a0opportunity costs considering the time it took on your part to keep it alive, andn2 much content being recycled by members, i.e. original was recycled on your site (I did this myself, I must admit)nnOn top,u00a0Ning was tying to improve its cash flow and started to charge for these kind of communities (see also free to use, pay to play).nnOf interest to me was that whilst you manage us all to re-connect on u00a0Facebook,u00a0participation and engagement was once again quite low.nnWhat your experience and comment teaches me is that if I want a vibrant, engaging and stimulating community, several people need to care and share contributing and moderating.nnWhile this is not based on extensive data, I discovered on several of our blogs as well as those of some of our clients that the engagement level has been lowered. u00a0Similarly the number of people contributing valuable content regularlyh on Facebook as well as LinkedIn or Xing groups has gone down since about September 2010.nnDigi-minimalism is en vogue these days, whereby many of us have discovered that participating requires time. Whilst it was fun while it lasted, u00a0by joining so many groups and platforms we may have simply over-committed ourselves. u00a0And yes,u00a0un-social media also means it ain’t scalable.nnAldo, thanks for sharing.nnResource: 4 tips for successful tweeting

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  • Alex Hall

    2011 trends: ROI and what social media is NOT – http://su.pr/1sdIWB

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  • http://twitter.com/jchalon/status/81763111941586944 jonathan chalon

    RT @ComMetrics: 2011 trends: ROI and what social media is NOT http://t.co/z0jdT5R

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