Our Biggest Threat are the In-between’s.

As the many cases of late tell us, corporations aren’t ready for social media. Not the least bit. The surprise to me is that people aren’t adapting like they usually do. They are joining forces. I mean, corporations had PR crises before social media. But they could play them in a not so public way. Nowadays, they have to talk directly to the customers, and the HAVE to, as the customers join forces and become a force.

So what is it that makes smart people at corporations make bad decisions? I mean, otherwise smart people that know all the rules of engagement, and are highly skilled to maneuver even the most sneaky of sneaky journalists.

My answer to that question is the in-betweens.

Diminishing returns to scale, and the User as a Fish

I wrote my final university paper on fish, eco labels and international trade. I found that fish are fish and thus belong to no one before they’re in the net, eco labels do create some wickeid kind of price premium and it is actually better to invest in industry than fishery in Tanzania.

This post is an attempt to connect international trade of fish with eco labels and social media.

Keep the offline business, but please expand in the online business

Some companies just won’t get on this train of social media and search. Some companies are just too ignorant, too arrogant and too self indulging to understand that the future does not lie in the past, but in the future. Adapting has always been the human beings way of survival. It plays out in all parts of our society. Europe was leading until the kings, church and queen stuff made the “janks” want to turn on us and become a republic. They then ruled the world until now when we see the Chinese take over as they change, they adapt and most of all, they adopt better practices instead of relying on best practices.

Bye bye Best Practice – all hail social media

bestpracticeBest practice is a term that has originally described a method or a process “…that is believed to be more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc.” The idea is that there is some way in which you can do something that will result in better outcome than all other ways of wanting to produce that specific outcome.

Remarkable is never done twice
Best practice is thus a way in which you make your working process the most effective in comparison to other working methods. Of late, this concept has become more synnonym with “good ways of doing a thing” or “a way to do a thing correctly”.

With regards to social media I think we can calmly say that there is no such thing as best practice. The rule of “everything you do, I should do better” must apply to all activities. Ie. if you are to make something spread between users in social media, it needs to have never been done before. Or, at least, it needs to be some time inbetween the last time and this time you’re doing the same thing.

I base this on the notion that people only talk about you when you give them a reason to talk about you in the extremes. “I LOVE them”, “I HATE them”, “They are THE BEST”, “I heard they make WONDERFUL”.

Thus there is no room for best practice as if you copy someone elses campaign, and do that with perfection, it is merely at most an “as god as the other one” campaign.

There is no other company better at being you than you
Secondly, it is important to know that people does not want you to do something that others do. They want your company to do what you want to do. This is important and perhaps one of the main reasons why todays media is much more of a strategic question than it has ever been before.

Read moreBye bye Best Practice – all hail social media

Taking charge of Branding the Long Tail

I read a blog post today that said social media is not for making money. I think this is only one side of the coin. I believe that you can utilize social media to make loads of money today and in the future. I am unsure if this posts give you reason enough to trust me, but if we discuss it I am sure we’ll reach a profitable conclusion.

Fortunes on branding
One thing that many companies spend fortunes on today, in order to make money, is branding. Branding is all about putting your brand in the right light so that people think that it is the best option when given several to choose from. I believe, and many with me, that social media is an excellent place where a brand can make it big, and thus also make loads of money, by being the better of two choices.

I mean c’mon… it’s no newsflash that people talk on Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, QZone, Friendster, Jaiku (well not so much talk there anymore..)… For me as a user, these services has become a way of expressing myself to my friends in a much more lasting way than before. People can check up on me without having to talk to me and thus maintain the “nice weather” convo without actually talking to other people.

Social networks are in a way, one way, for us as individuals to stay on top of what’s up in our network. What’s hot, what’s not. What’s lame, what’s game. It is also a way for us to stay on top of that game, and in a sense, a way of us to put our personal brand in the right light.

Branding the long tail
So, what does a company brand have to do in all of this. Well, some say they don’t belong, I say those same people are very wrong. I say that brands have an oportunity to stop being brands in social media. What I’m really saying is that your future brand value, and thus your purchase surplus produced on the web, is in fact at best odds when you have no brand at all. What I am aiming at is utility and function.

Read moreTaking charge of Branding the Long Tail

Social media doesn’t change the game

The GameThe Game, the husstle, the folding of the sleves, the pick it up from the ground and brush it off. There is nothing with social media that changes the basics of YOUR daily work. It is what’s around you that has changed. I made an analysis of social media the other day and I sort of stumbled over a way to describe this change that everyone is talking about.

I decided to split it into three areas of interest or historical context. The production of media, the consumption of media and what influences us as human beings.

The evolution of media production
By now you know the story. When speaking of the change social media has brought upon the world, most people speak of media production capabilities. Production was first controlled by who ever had a pike and some power to hack a message into a stone wall. The posibilities of media production was then adopted and controlled by church and state. Then the area of “mass media” came about with the introduction of the printing press, later radio, later tv, later internet 1.0.

Mass media has however never been MASS media as the production has been primarily controlled by institutions such as news paper, religious institiutions, churches, corporations etc. Production has been expensive and has thus been in the hands of those who have had the money to produce. Reach reach reach reach. If someone starts talking bach you reach a little bit more and you simply crowd them out. In some instances, you enforce rules to control the production.

Read moreSocial media doesn’t change the game

Social media Automation

I thought I would write something about automation as I get many inquiries about this topic. What can be automated and what can not be automated online. My simplest answer is that everything can be automated. But most stuff shouldn’t be.

That’s why I LOVE spammers
Spammers usually look at vulnerabilities on the web and try to exploit them in any way possible. They automate as much as possible as they shoot from the hip and try to make a hit. I tend to look at spammers to see what smart solutions they have made that I can use to make my work more efficient. I use them and their creativity to become better at what I do. If something can be automated, it should be. If something can be created easier, then it should be. There is no natural law that says all dialogue has to be between two people. The only law in any social interaction is that everyone should get something out of the dialogue. Think win-win and the rest will follow.

What is a good Social media Automation?
If I for example can generate an automated response that solves a problem for another person, then that is a GOOD solution. If I however do not solve the users problem, then I get a problem. Thus it is in both peoples interest to make sure that any automation you do in social media (in particular) helps to solve problems rather than create them.

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Institutional brands vs. user generated brands

Image Borrowed from Merge Left marketing

There has been some talk for a while about brands not knowing how to work in social media. People think companies are too pushy and that they try to push their thoughts upon the users. In many cases this is a correct view. Companies do have their agenda. They want to make as much money as possible for as long as possible. This post will deal with two types of ways to ensure you build good starting blocks for your brand to succeed in social media.

The Institutional Brand
The biggest difference with this post and many others is that I recognize the need for an organization to construct their own brand. As I have said in previous posts, a brand is a composite of many raw materials. Internally, in an organization or in an institution, these raw materials are built, they are kept, and usually also written down on a piece of paper called “brand manual” or “brand guidelines”.

An institutional brand lives and flourishes within the organization. The smallest organizations often don’t think of the brand as something separate from themselves, in medium organizations the brand is perceived as the light of god, and in bigger organizations the brand becomes either the guiding star or the culture in which everyone works. Good or bad, an institutional brand is the sum of it’s raw materials and its employees.

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