This is a time when many of the wise individuals I follow in various social media channels come forward with their next year predictions; that is not the intention of this post (but that other post will come)…
These are wishes, things I hope will happen but I won’t go as far as saying that they will happen. If you have other things you wish for I’d love to hear about them!
(This will likely be a post I add to a couple times in the next week or two)
In no particular order:
Semantics! I firmly believe one of the key challenges of the Social Media space is that we tend to call the same thing different names and apply the same names to completely different things; what is “engagement”? What does “conversation” implies?
I wish for 2009 to be the year when all of us interested in Social Media make emphasis in defining a common set of terms for our trade and make a point of using those terms consistently.
Metrics! As many have called/are calling out: the time when we could get Social Media to fly without proper measures for success (or benchmarks to support the concept that it has a chance of success) are over. Progress has been made (see here http://www.goingsocialnow.com/2008/12/tracking-social-influence-razo.html and here http://mashable.com/2008/12/29/brand-reputation-monitoring-tools/) but we need to get to the point where Direct Marketing finds itself today; the professionals in that discipline use standard measures and can easily compare their efforts within and across organizations.
I wish for 2009 to be the year when all of us interested in Social Media make emphasis in defining a common set of metrics for our trade and make a point of applying and presenting those metrics consistently.
It is not easy! Our discipline has been plagued by a misconception from the beginning; it is perceived by many as the “easy” or “cheap” or “inexplicable” way to do marketing. Non withstanding honorable exceptions: success in social media comes out of careful planning, astute execution and willingness to invest in the long time (hey; it is a relationship!)
I wish for 2009 to be the year when Social Media is given the treatment and consideration other more established disciplines (such as CRM, SEO, Branding, etc.) are given. That it becomes clear this is a professional trade with its own tools, specialties and skills.
It is not temporary; it is not a one off! I think what many have missed regarding Social Media is that it is about relationships; with and among your consumers/target audience. Do you pursue someone you really want to have close to you to simply then shut off those efforts and go dark for a long time and then re-surface somewhere else using a completely different set of approaches? No, you don’t (and if you do you are very lonely).
I wish for 2009 to be the year when Social Media efforts are clearly understood as Relationship Marketing efforts; and proper thinking is placed on what will happen to the relationships that have been established once the specific campaign/tactic you are running now is over.
It works, and it doesn’t have to be the latest for it to work! I can’t remember the number of times I have had some Social Media tactics/concepts challenged to just find out that the problem was that they were poorly applied/executed; even when I love the latest as much as anyone else we need to make less emphasis on “the new thing” and more on the sound application of the basics.
I wish for 2009 to be the year when Social Media practitioners make a point of following best practices and applying social media tactics in simple, elegant ways rather than trying to always come up with the newest most daring concept.
Test, Learn and be willing to not do it if it is not the right thing! (paraphrasing a wish that came from Digitalista http://twitter.com/digitalista). I completely agree with this one; it has been one of my secret desires to someday see someone rewarded for not doing something; because it was not the right thing to do.
I wish for 2009 to be the year when Social Media practitioners carefully consider their alternatives, test and bravely recommend not to move forward with something if it is not the right thing to do.
What do you wish for? (In Social Media, that is)