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Social Media: Where’s the Beef? Ahem, Data?

July 14, 2012

Readers around in the mid-80’s will recall Wendy’s very successful ad campaign, “Where’s The Beef”.  For those of you who weren’t around back then or want a chuckle, click below.

The ad came to mind as we considered the topic of this blogpost.

When it comes to social media, it seems that managers are finally asking, “where’s the beef” when they consider how much time and effort they’ve sunk into social media and how little they have to show for it.

Specifically, many social media newbies have been all about the numbers… likes, fans, followers, comments, shares… their efforts (and likely their compensation targets) have been all about building numbers on Facebook pages, Twitter, YouTube, Linked In, Pinterest and a whatever the next hot one is about to be (sorry G+, maybe it will be you… but not yet).

But to what end is this chase for numbers?  What’s it getting them?

It’s our belief that marketer’s obsession over the accumulation of stats across the popular social networks has overlooked some very important realities:

  1. They are likely losing control of the conversation when you allow it to diffuse over multiple social networks
  2. While many of these networks may allow you to co-brand, let’s face it the conversation is taking place on somebody else’s platform
  3. The burger is all bun and no beef. That is, there is limited access about who is engaged with their brand.  The social platforms have all the data and the Marketers don’t.

Issues 1 and 2 will be left to debate for another day.  This post is all about the data/beef or lack thereof.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

Marketers got [their companies or brands] a Twitter handle and a Facebook Fan Page. Then they went to their interactive digital agency to make the Fan Page look like the brand. Then they went to Buddy Media or Vitrue to run a contest to get fans or followers. Then they got Radian 6 and got a [social media] listening platform. Now they say, ‘I’m analyzing.’ Now what? There’s a huge gap to their in-house [customer database] system they spent $2 billion to create.

Just as marketers are now discovering — building on top of platforms like Facebook have locked their customers into the Facebook experience — our personal online data sets are held hostage by the platforms whose tools we use when we create them.  Read more

If you are in a big company, it likely rings true.  You have accumulated large social media audiences that rarely engage (as we have discussed here and has more recently been updated here).  And you know nothing about them.

Truth is, most marketers have been using Social Media no differently that their predecessors did Print, TV or Radio… just another mass communication channel.  While yes, it was an improvement because there was 2-way dialog, the real payoff… truly knowing those who were interacting with the Brand has been given up to the social media platforms.   And it gets worse.  Think about how much time and effort Marketers have spent in recent years attempting to drive prospects and customers toward their ‘rented’ space within social media which inherently translates ‘away from their own sites’.

What were we thinking?  Driving folks to a place we don’t control, where we are barely branded, we know nothing about the people we encounter and limited resources to learn anything additional.   In this environment there’s lots of noise, overwhelming distraction and short attention spans.  …All in the hopes that we’ll have an opportunity to engage in some cheap, short-term dialog and maybe get lucky.  Sounds like a bad nightclub.

Luckily we see the tide turning.  Marketers are coming back to the reality they have known all along.  Good marketing is just like dating…  all about conducting careful, considerate dialog in carefully considered locations at each and every phase of the Marketing/Sales funnel.  In recent weeks, we’ve been both hearing and reading commentary that the number of  Likes and Fans aren’t as important as engaging in informed dialog.  We’ve also been hearing calls like this one and this one for a transferable data platform that would allow individuals the choice to share their personal information with the companies with whom they choose to engage, regardless of the social medial platform.  While this seems a long way off and, honestly, an ideal that will never happen due to the vast value the large social networks have built and the fact that they will not want to open it up– at least the conversation has started.

But we see another alternative that we’ve been working on as a LaunchPad inside-project for a while now.  Stay tuned for some exciting announcements that will allow event-driven brands like professional sports teams and corporate event managers to take control of the dialog and the data while also leveraging the power of the crowds brought to you by the large successful social media platforms.

There may soon be big juicy (data) burgers at an event near you!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2012 2:02 pm

    Reblogged this on DAZZMOBILE BLOG.


  1. My Platform or Yours? « LaunchPad's Ready-Aim-Fire

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