13 WHERE IS IT ALL GOING? – Working the Crowd


In this, the final chapter, we take a look forward. We look at what will happen next in the new world of communication. Just as the dotcom boom changed the way we used the web in the late 1990s, so the influx of social media platforms will fundamentally change the way we communicate and do business in the 2010s. First, we’ll have a look at the new way of marketing and how push marketing will have to evolve to suit the new dialogue. Secondly, we’ll speculate on the new platform and how search will play an important part in raising awareness of social engagement tools and encourage more people to take part in the conversation. We’ll have a look at how hardware will evolve to take the users to the next level of engagement and how the infrastructure will change to support our changing requirements on the web. We’ll talk about the blurring of our work and social lives and the privacy and personas that we’ll need to adopt online to keep our public and private lives separate. Finally, I’ll share a few tips to help you become successful at engaging with the online audience without becoming overwhelmed in the crowd.

Forrester’s Technographic ladder (http://bit.ly/bn6fDc) shows that consumers are collectors, critics, conversationalists and creators and that their engagement increases year on year.54 There is a great opportunity to engage with the audience, have a two-way conversation and complement the traditional push marketing approach.

This engagement, carried out where the audience spend their online social hours, gives companies a great opportunity to generate brand advocacy and change perceptions and impact.

In order to achieve marketing success with engagement marketing using online social media, a long term strategy needs to be created. This new way of working is a long term commitment and a valuable business proposition, but it cannot happen on its own.

This approach takes time and effort to reap the appropriate rewards as each member of the team needs to contribute to and invest in the conversation.

Social media activities are not another push medium for marketers but used in a push—pull way to orchestrate engagement and dialogue with their tier 1 influencers. Regular engagement is necessary for sustained channel growth and there should be activity in each social media channel which can be measured as the conversational responses increase throughout the year.

I do have a word of warning, however, in this new world of marketing. Be cautious of relying on recording the volume of users, followers, fans and friends across each channel. This type of metrics monitoring will not bring any great insight to the business.

Take time to develop your own insight into your audience. Work out an appropriate baseline to build upon, and think carefully about the use of any tools which automate responses as these will quickly damage perceptions of your brand.

Longevity is also important. Any commitment to these types of activities should be for a period one of at least a year to allow you to set a baseline and introduce effective monitoring and tracking. This allows appropriate themes to be created and dialogue with influencers to be developed throughout your audience.