Last week I told you about this Survey Kyle Parrotta conducted for a research paper he is working on. He shared his results with me and we discovered an interesting trend. It's not really surprising that more and more retail customers use Social Media tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. What surprises me is the information that more people expect Product Information on Social Media than Contests. Are you giving your Customers enough information?v
My friends at Out-Smarts Marketing asked a question on their Facebook Page that I can’t get out of my mind:
Even though I try to stay positive and open to the constant changes by all of our beloved Social Media tools, I can’t help disliking some of them. Complaining about changes doesn’t usually help and often the changes turn into opportunities.
Example – while I don’t like the “pay to play” strategy of Facebook, I can see the introduction of Edgerank (or should I say the algorithm that replaced it!) in general as positive today.
My initial answer to the question above was: “Hasn’t been invented yet” but of course Mhairi Petrovic from Out-Smarts didn’t let me get away with that and asked what my ideal Social Network would look like.
Before I get into the answer I need to make one point clear: I don’t see how any Social Media tool could be successful for business without appealing to the general public. Any successful tool needs to work in our private life so it can be successful for business.
Let’s cook up our own Social Media tool:
My Ideal Social Network for business would combine the best features of all existing ones and then some:
The best of Facebook
The biggest asset of Facebook is it’s mass appeal. There are many reasons that Facebook is everywhere. Facebook has actually managed to become part of most of our lives. Even the last few people that refuse to actually have an account acknowledge the important role Facebook plays in our lives.
The best of Twitter
I am a big fan of the 140 character limit that Twitter is based on. The limit keeps us short and to the point – nobody can ramble on.
I love the openness of Twitter – what I say there can be seen by everybody, even if you haven’t ever heard of me before. You don’t need to like my page or put me in some circle.
The best of LinkedIn
LinkedIn has successfully defended it’s title as the favorite Social Network for professionals. I’m not sure what it is exactly but the fact that many in the business world accept LinkedIn as their place to hang out makes it important.
The best of Google+
No other Social Network has polarized the community like G+. It’s biggest challenge (clunky user interface) also is it’s biggest advantage. Google Hangouts are the most amazing part of Google Plus. I’m a firm believer that video conferencing will continue to gain importance in our lives.
The best of Pinterest and Instagram
Pinterest and Instagram have blown the development of visual content out of the ballpark. Telling stories with pictures is an incredible addition to our repertoire of expression and needs to be built into any future platform.
The best of Tumblr
The reason why our kids love Tumblr is to a large extend that Social Media Marketers have not been able to turn it into a big billboard. The secret of Tumblr is it’s anti-commercial culture.
The ideal Social Network for business hasn’t been launched yet.
The pressure is on. Any major new Social Network needs to bring something revolutionary to the table. Unfortunately I don’t know what that will be but there are a few elements on the wish list:
- Accountable only to the users – the path to the stock exchange should be ruled out from the start. (and yes, I would pay for a premium account if this were the case)
- Compatibility with all other tools and platforms. It should be our choice where we share content
- The users decide on the level of privacy they are comfortable with
- Marketing content needs to be clearly marked to be acceptable
Let’s cook up our ideal Social Network for Business – please tell me the ingredients you think it needs to have in the comments!