Posts tagged ‘social media’

Social Media Exclusivity: Are you In or Out?

Are you in the ‘in’ crowd or the ‘everybody’s in’ crowd?

Smart marketers understand that we want what we can’t have. They use the allure of exclusivity to build their brands — at times, creating limits just so they can surpass them. It’s the simple economics of supply and demand that when executed well, can make companies thrive.

But does this work for social media?

Social media communities are structured into two main types: Open and Closed.

Open Communities ( think MySpace), invite everyone to join. By breaking down doors (or eliminating them entirely) this method creates an ease of access that encourages fast growth. The success of MySpace and other free online tools (think: hotmail, yahoo groups) can be, at least in part, attributed to the fact that signing up is quick, easy, and open to all.

Closed Communities (think early Facebook), are based on idea of extreme exclusivity. They use the allure of being a part of something private, to make the community more enticing and build membership.

The overwhelming success of Facebook, clearly shows that Closed Communities do work — at least when executed well.  Even though exclusive sites like Facebook must turn away interested members/customers in order to maintain privacy, and even though those not allowed join may create negative feedback and be reluctant to join should the doors open to everyone down the road…

Interests: “Didn’t I already do this on MySpace?”
–A profile quote from a Facebook latecomer and former MySpace user.

…easily accessibly sites like MySpace open the door for fake profiles, unwanted connections, and spam messaging. These privacy issues make some hesitant to join or unhappy once they have and even more likely to leave in the long run.

And when it comes down to it, privacy and security are deal breaker issues for many people.

And it’s the ability of exclusive communities to better control information of their memebers that contributes to their long term success. Facebook may have taken longer to gain momentum but as of April, 2008, according to TechCrunch they finally caught up to MySpace in unique visitors.

facebookmyspaceap081

But here’s the kicker: Facebook took the crown only after they opend their doors to the public. What this shows us is that, both methods may need to be tapped into to ensure long term success. (Does long term success exist in Social Media???) By basing their community around the idea of exclusivity and (essentially) privacy, they were able to maintain control of the community as it grew. And once they platform was established, they opened the doors to the world and in doing so, came the closest to living on both sides of the tracks as a social media platform could do.

December 4, 2008 at 4:38 pm 2 comments

Social Media Marketing: Are GenYs Lagging Behind?

Do GenYs really ‘get it’ when it comes to Social Media Marketing?

Recently, I got into twittervation with @xylem about this exact topic. A post on his blog stated:

“Millennials don’t translate their familiarity with these tools to their advantage at work. They don’t use it to differentiate themselves from the crowd and competitive differentiator in the office.  Not the way they should be, anyway.”

And so the question is posed to me:

Why are GenYs not actively taking hold of the marketing potential of social media?

Or, taking that one step further:

Why aren’t GenYs leading the Social Media Revolution?

These are big questions to which I gave some serious thought. My generation, ‘Millennials’ are almost universally obsessed with social media. We love facebook, myspace, youtube, and flicker with a passion. We were brought up on AIM and have never known a time where information and connections have been anything less than instantaneous. We’re known as overachievers, super-learners, and technology maniacs. And so it seems only natural that, entering the work force, we would be leading the charge to incorporate these technologies into business. Though according to some, we’re lagging behind.

If this is true, I would say that our primary weakness is that we fail to see the potential professional gain of social media. True, we’re introduced to new platforms well before most of the free world, and our ‘natural inclination’ towards all things technological makes us near instant pros. But to us it’s all about fun. For over a decade we’ve been using social media to connect with friends, share pictures, and kill time. In fact, we’re so trained to view these online communities as a world away from work that many of us don’t tailor our behavior to the potential audience that might happen upon it (i.e. most millennials keep inappropriate pictures, applications, and wall posts on their profiles during the job hunt).

So why can’t we see the professional potential?

In my mind, the main reason that we’re blind to the competitive advantage of social media is because we were taught to keep online worlds separate from work and school by our parents (the Boomers) and our older siblings and teachers (GenXs). Long before we knew that facebook, myspace, and twitter were called ‘social media’ these fun web 2.0 tools were banned, limited, and monitored by our successors. There were rules and regulations at home, school, and work prohibiting their use. Years upon years of being told that these sites were just for play and we got the message – these sites are toys, not tools.

Fast forward a decade and suddenly the Boomers and GenXs are starting to get it. Our parents are friending us on Facebook and our bosses are asking us to find clients using Twitter. But at the same time, many sites remain restricted. We are encouraged to use some but told to stay away by others and as interns and coordinators in our first years on the job we’re struggling to manage the mixed signals. What’s allowed and what’s forbidden? How to separate personal from professional? Where do we draw the line between keeping track of friends and networking to build professional relationships? And so, it’s probably true that not all of us are getting it.

But please, be patient. (Remember that the oldest millennials are only 26!)

Keep in mind that we’re still young and we have a lot to learn. While we may have an inherent talent for this budding field, there’s a lot we’re still trying to figure out. So @xylem I’m asking you and all GenXs, to reach out to us. It’s great that you recognize that we just may have a few things we can teach you, but remember that, we’re still new at marketing, PR and at being professionals. Most of us simply don’t have the experience to put all the pieces together and see the big picture.

And of course, there are some that do. There are few rockstars and a handful of rockstars-in-training. But on the whole, most GenYs are still just trying to get their acts together. Realizing the tools we have on hand might actually serve a purpose (and that we can use them to get ahead!) will come, but it will take time and probably a mentor or two.

Rather than separate the generations based on what we have to offer, shouldn’t we be focusing on how we can work together to push the industry forward? The rules of PR and marketing have changed. Maybe it’s time for the traditional office structure to change too. And so, I call on Boomers and GenXs to bring us on board. Start by explaining the goals and telling us what you think we can add. Then let us run. Not everyone will take the cue, but the ones who do won’t look back.

October 24, 2008 at 4:39 pm 5 comments


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