The shape we are in – social media goes back to school.

September – what a great time to evaluate. Back to school and back to the desk we go. But what kind of shape are we in?

This morning I logged on to Twitter and I make no bones about it, I was looking for inspiration. As I flicked through the burbling of a thousand bored/busy people I felt a bit depressed by the lack of substance – what I really wanted was something fresh and insightful about the state of social media today. I wanted something to kick start my new term.  

Unable to find it I started to think for myself and this is what I came up with.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a great place to start because it doesn’t just tell us about where we are in the life-cycle of emerging technologies – peak of inflated expectations -slope of enlightenment etc it informs us about how we are actually feeling in relation to those technologies. I know a lot of bloggers who are stuck in the trough of disillusionment and it might really help them to point out that according to the Gartner curve we are about to emerge onto the slope of enlightenment and onward into the plateau of productivity – Hallelujiah!

Social Media journalism, like all journalism, loves a launch and will expend vast numbers of words on the next big thing. Pinterest and Instagram are the new Twitter and Facebook – Reddit is coming back –  bla de bla bla bla.  But we fetishise the new at the expense of evaluating the old at our peril. Getting into the nitty gritty of daily social media use is not glamorous, it doesn’t have the hot excitement of inflated expecation, but deflating our expectations a little won’t hurt – it is realistic and will help us get the job done.

So what am I taking forward into my new term then?

For a start, I think that every single social media user/client is different. Everyone needs a tailored approach using a different blend of tools. Some just need some great old fashioned marketing – you’d be amazed by how many people still aren’t able to point to a usable database they can send e-mails to. Some clients need to go away and develop a really good understanding of where their people are in order to engage with them there and we all need to think in terms of giving people a little of what they want before we can get them to take up what they need.

Think compelling headlines, lovely pictures, aspirational content, useful articles, invaluable advice.

Finally – keep re-evaluating. We need to have this back to school conversation at least 4 times a year if not more. Has our favoured social media fallen by the wayside are we talking to the same old people – have our people moved on – do they want something different? Reassessing the situation regularly will keep us on our toes and keep it fresh – after all we don’t want want to fall back into the slough of disillsuonment do we (it is acutally a trough but slough works well if you live in Berkshisre.)

What do you think?

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2 responses to “The shape we are in – social media goes back to school.

  1. Hi, I’ve been a bit of a grumpy old woman when it comes to social media – especially Twitter. My mission at the moment is to find out what is working and what isn’t. As a marketer, I can’t afford to ignore this new media any more. But have to admit – it’s a bit like trying to get a toddler to eat their greens at the moment.

    So I’d be interested if any other readers have thoughts about what is working and what isn’t – and how to cut through all the time wasting rubbish. Everyone says they don’t have enough time for family, friends, exercising etc – but some are certainly wasting bucket loads with the rubbish which is out there.

    • Hi – thanks for your comments – the best way to find our what works is to experiment! It obviously depends what kind of business/product you are seeking to build a community around. I recently advised someone to talk to their clients, even put out a survey about which social media they use and then get started with those. If you want to talk to people and communicate, there is no point doing it in places where they are not.

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