I tried to shy away from creating lists about things, top tens and how to's in 2010. However, its clear that they have their usages and fortunately mine aren’t selfishly about driving SEO, these are about genuine beliefs in what I think will make Social Strategies even better in 2011.
1) Creating Real World Collaborations. When I used to talk about bloggers, I talked about how they wanted to move from a virtual voice to a real voice. From the digital web to print media. I think its strange that this is the case, but I still believe it is. However, in 2011 bloggers and influencers will no longer be points of contact for simply sending out emails, they will be brand collaborators. They will have a key function in the future of brands.
To understand this you just need to look at the way that brands like Gap have used Cool Hunting’s Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten, and how they have also used Denis Crowley from FourSquare. You could argue that Denis Crowley is less collaboration more advertising, but my feeling is that the “celeb face on poster = sales of product” equation no longer exists for a lot of brands. Although more complex, collaborations really are the future and I am looking forward to creating these myself in 2011.
2) Understanding the Value Creation of an Influencer. There have been some pretty negative stories in the press about “influencers” being paid to tweet or post positively. It seems surprising that these issues are being raised now as this sort of thing has happened for awhile. However, in the campaigns I have worked on, we have never paid influencers to tweet, but it does clearly show that brands value influencer approval. There seems therefore a desperation to find “the most influential” and Klout has certainly stolen the show on this. But it doesn’t do enough for me. We need more, we need to understand value.
My personal goal in the first quarter of 2011 is to identify a methodology for understanding the value actually created for an influencer. I don’t believe in the PR AVE value calculation and don’t believe you can place the same £ figure on each influencer. To understand this I am reviewing PR methodologies, sports sponsorship methodologies and costings, endorsements, brand advocacy, and I will be publishing results end of February.
3) Leaving seeding to the PR people. Seeding is one of the unglamorous jobs of any social strategy. Its pure implementation and sadly, time and time again its value is diminished by a press release on PR Wire, Cision Wire etc. Social shouldn’t be about seeding, it should be about identifying key value creators and taking them on a brand journey.
This could mean giving them access to parts of the factory never seen by anyone before, it could be giving them a year’s supply of product, it could mean getting them to be your board’s cultural advisor. All in all, 2011 shouldn’t be about seeding if you are a future-facing social strategist, brand and agency.
4) Working on the Inside. The impossibility of implementing strong social strategies from the outside of a company grows further and further each day. Insider knowledge in terms of social channels and strategies is absolutely vital. I can never know as much about your brand as your brand managers, I can never know as much about the functions of a product as the product designer.
To succeed in 2011, it is vital, absolutely vital, that social strategies start from a core of ambassadors, linchpins, mavens, rabbits (they know all the routes down the tunnels), and is amplified by external connections and channels. Those that do this will win, those that don’t won’t.
5) Working in threes. You need three people to run a social strategy. A social strategist (focused on the cross-section of sociology and technology), a creative technologist (focused on the cross-section of technology and ideas) and a creative writer (focused on bringing alive ideas, content and collaborations)
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