Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 22, 2010 9:59 PM

The Social Element Is Everywhere

There's a saying that likes to dance around the Internet. It goes something like this: "all media is social media."

That's not entirely true. Media (or anything) only becomes social when there is an opportunity for those who are consuming it to react back at it with some kind of interaction. You can still use the Internet (or even the telephone) as a broadcasting channel. The thing is, by doing so in a world where people are getting more and more used to having an interaction back and forth with their digital media channels, the more anti-social a brand can look.

What does that really mean?

  • If people can leave comments, rate and share anything and everything on a website and your website does not allow that kind of interaction, what does that say?
  • If people can tweet about a brand (positive, negative or neutral) and get a response, but all you're doing is broadcasting your specials and discounts, what does that say?
  • If your competitors have an iPhone app making it easier for their consumers to connect and get information and you don't, what does that say?
  • If people see that brands are on Facebook and interacting with their consumers and you're not, what does that say?
  • If people are posting video testimonials, reviews and unboxing of products and services, but there are none of yours, what does that say?
  • If people are talking about brands on Blogs and getting feedback in those comments from those brands, but you're not listening or engaging on Blogs, what does that say?

Always remember...

When people can speak back, the social engagement is implicit.

What does that really mean?

You can avoid it. You can assume that it's not important to your consumers. You can assume that your consumers are different. They're not. Everything online and in the mobile space is social... even the broadcasting part (you can comment, rate, share and embed videos from YouTube, in case you haven't been over there in the past little while). If you don't offer that same type of functionality as people have come to expect in their day to day digital interactions, it's not that you will be perceived as old or traditional, it's that you are not meeting the bare expectations.

Doing it to just do it is not the answer either.

We're closing out 2010. 2011 is going to be a big year for brands. It's also going to be a very challenging year as more and more viable competitors enter the fray. Figuring out your online and digital marketing strategy going forward is critical. How your brand interacts with your consumers and meets (or how about exceeds!) their expectations is also going to be critical.

It's going to be interesting to see which brands are really up for it.

By Mitch Joel