It’s really interesting to get 90 business focussed social media people in a room. The conversation is completely different to the conversations around social media that you hear at other types of networking events.
I like going to unconference events. This format allows for much more open discussion than at structured breakouts. Conversation flows and great new ideas are formed. Instead of just delivering a précis of the day, I captured a few key phrases that I thought were worth expanding on and discussion further.
Social media joins people together as we move towards the more personal experience. and the currency we use of the personal experience is now trust and the value of the relationship and your online reputation instead of hard currency.
And the problem with this people shift is that the traditional IT department, beset with process and change management procedures, just isn’t agile enough to cope with the new age of transparency and collaborative working. Think about Wikipedia. Every amendment we make benefits all of us, every Bing or Google search adds to the knowledge of our search patterns for the search engine. Our input makes the search experience richer for everyone else. Whilst we appear to be selfish, we are actually collaborating with others to benefit us all.
Our communications, whilst seeming trivial, have hidden use for marketers. It might be tedious to receive a message about your friends watching the trials and tribulations on X factor, but if this message is repeated all over the country in a specific time slot, then that’s a heck of a lot of data for marketers to use.
The challenge is- how do we market and mine this information? Influence is tricky to measure – as Julius Duncan points out, and people can be both a help and a hindrance due to their uniqueness and behaviour differences. But this surge of information gives us a useful indicator of relevance - and consequently the affect on how marketers can truly reach us, the consumer.
This is the challenge – and the opportunities that we have at the moment. Bridging these unstructured pieces of data and bringing sense and meaning to them will bring great benefits – for businesses and consumers.
It’s certainly an interesting place to be right now
Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.
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