I recently attended the 2009 Social Media Building Blocks Conference, sponsored by Reality Digital, here in San Francisco. I was really impressed with the great lineup of speakers presenting at the conference, including MTV Networks and the Sundance Institute (Robert Redford was unfortunately not in attendance), who talked about many of the same social media issues that we at Horn Group deal with on daily basis.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Horn Group has all the answers for our clients when it comes to social media, but the fact that many of the issues being discussed (where to engage, new social media platforms, and how to monetized social media) were topics that have already been breached with many of our clients.
The main message I heard during was that people are confused where to best engage in social media, and subsequently, how much capital it will take to do it right.
Benjamin Wagner, vice president of MTV News, who spoke at the show, might have summed it up best, saying, “At first we didn’t know where to begin, so we engaged in every type of social media thinking bigger was better. We lost sight of who our audience was and how they wanted to engage with MTV.”
In the end, Wagner and his team figured out that while they had been focused on so many separate social media entities (Facebook / MySpace pages, Twitter accounts…etc) that they had fallen behind on keeping MTVNews.com current and digestible for readers. Wagner and his team began to overhaul MTVNews.com, shortening stories and giving all video news segments adjoining editorial content. As a result, MTV began to see better engagement from its core audience (18-25 year olds) and site traffic is now projected to double in 2009.
The fact is everyone needs to take a step back and ask themselves, what do I want to get out of engaging in social media? Will it play a role in how I interact with my future and present customers, is it a way for my organization to better listen to what’s being said about our industry, or is this merely an attempt to jump on the proverbial social media band wagon.
One simple suggestion is something that my mom always said to me (and she still does), measure twice, cut once. Just because everyone you know has made a corporate Facebook page does not mean it’s something you should do for your business. Take a step back, look at your business and figure out which approach will best serve your goals.