Who Will “Own” Social Media Optimization in a Corporate Environment?

(Via the Mediapost blog)

A big question is addressed in this blog posting from Max Kalehoff, vice president of marketing for Nielsen BuzzMetrics. It might be shocking to the ears of online purists but the question needs to be asked as more and more companies embark in this new world. Where does social media optimization fit in a corporate environment? Where do you build that competency?

Public relations: Kalehoff says: “They were the first to fully understand and embrace the potential impact of CGM (Consumer Generated Media), which typically is uncontrolled and must be earned, much like the news media. But with few exceptions, public relations people have yet to push the needle in CGM beyond their core competency of media relations and associated budgets. But the opportunities around CGM are so much bigger. On the plus side, public relations agencies don’t have much to lose, because CGM is additive for them. But because CGM is potentially more disruptive and erosive to other marketing disciplines, I can promise all the public relations people that the pressure for others to build competency is quickly dialing up. Competition is on the way.”

Full-service advertising agencies: Kalehoff adds: “(…) like the PR agencies, there are a few progressive ones, which have invested substantially and created value for their clients. But for the most part, they are lagging. Perhaps it’s because CGM still seems so trivial and miniscule relative to those big television budgets? Why bother?”

Big media shops: he continues: “To be sure, many of these guys are making substantial investment in tapping into buzz to understand consumer decision processes and the way that word of mouth weaves into other media dimensions. It is perhaps the channel-agnostic investment approach that gives media people an edge in leveraging CGM. They have yet to really step up to the plate, but I’m betting we’ll see more action as CGM metrics, standards and best practices evolve.”

Direct marketers and interactive shops: “Relatively speaking, these guys have been walking the talk within the agency world. They’ve been heaviest among the agencies in investing in research, planning and execution, and connecting to larger brand programs, including with other marketing partners and agencies. Of course, these folks have the digital and database savvy required for larger scale programs, and are nimble to navigate the fast-moving and sometimes volatile nature of CGM. They’re also advantaged by the continued flood of marketing dollars online.”

Client-side marketers: “Barbara Bacci Mirque, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, recently observed that “more and more advertisers are leading their agencies into new media, not the other way around,” and that “clients are the ones who are personally and professionally experimenting with new media forms and directing their agencies to look into them.” In the world of CGM, I can confirm this is true, and it happens across departments.”

Max Kalehoff’s prediction for 2007? “Client-side marketers will continue to lead, though they’ll soon begin to receive (and expect) a far higher level of support and expertise from the larger agency landscape. In fact, marketers will simply need more and more integrated support, to properly bake CGM into more complex marketing functions. Consequently, we’ll see agencies make massive educational and experimental investments to develop their unique value proposition and credibility. Each discipline will jockey hard where there is ambiguity or overlap of ownership, but broad fluency will rise and CGM will become a more holistic overlay in the entire marketing mix. ”

What it means: based on my current experience, I would say that the SMO thrust has been coming mostly from a mix of both interactive shops and client-side marketers. In any case, marketers need to start embracing SMO (potentially starting with blogging) and push their marcom stakeholders in that direction as well.

Beyond Google: Social Media Engines First, Other Search Engines Second

Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land dropped a bomb on the SEO world last Wednesday by firmly putting a new stake in the ground:

“…over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself more and more thinking that if you want to go beyond Google as a search marketer, the other search engines that matter first are the “social media search engines.” After them come the other major general purpose search engines like Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.”

“Search marketers should tap into search engines — and that includes the social media search engines. Neil Patel’s Forget ABCs – The Social Media Alphabet Is DNRS (…) is an excellent introduction to some of these players, for those not up on social media search engines and social media optimization. (…) They are traffic powerhouses you can’t ignore.”

What it means: Wow! Social Media (Digg, Techmeme, Del.icio.us, possibly MySpace, etc.) are now considered to be the second biggest source of traffic after Google for certain types of sites (news, blogs, etc.). Which means Social Media Optimization (discussed in the Praized blog in November) should now be a key element of your traffic strategy. Are you properly leveraging these sites?

Local & Social Media Predictions for 2007

I’ve recently discussed in this blog a list of online media predictions for 2007. I’ve decided to take the plunge and offer my own predictions in the Local and Social Media space for the year to come.

1) Atomization: 2007 will see the acceleration of content/functions/applications atomization (decentralization) via the adoption of multiple syndication methods like RSS, XML and APIs by a majority of web sites.

2) Verticalization: The success of generalist social networks and online video sites in 2006 means that we will see the arrival of a multitude of new specialized players in these two fields.

3) RSS: a clear business model for RSS will emerge. It will start replacing e-mail marketing as a way to communicate directly (and better) to your customers

4) Local will become more social / Social will become more local: A good example of the later is the addition of maps (often Google Maps, the poster child for Atomization!) in FiveLimes or Flickr.

5) Traditional Media will continue to realize that they desperately need to capture eyeballs online, leading to more online acquisitions and/or investments.

6) Long distance & local calls will continue their move towards free. Model might actually reverse itself and we might finally see the strong emergence of pay-per-call as a legitimate lead model for advertisers.

7) Traditional media will create SEO job positions. Search Engine Optimization is a key success factor for traditional media to be well positioned in search engines. Innovative companies will create Social Media Optimization (SMO) positions.

8) Video Monetization: a clear business model will emerge. Either Google’s acquisition of YouTube or the launch of the Venice Project (don’t bet against Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom…)

9) The proliferation of destination sites without clear business models will lead a lot of them to adopt the B2B business model, i.e. software licensing or ASP to traditional media companies.

There you go! Anything you would have added? Do you agree, disagree?

Local & Social Media Predictions for 2007

I’ve recently discussed in this blog a list of online media predictions for 2007. I’ve decided to take the plunge and offer my own predictions in the Local and Social Media space for the year to come.

1) Atomization: 2007 will see the acceleration of content/functions/applications atomization (decentralization) via the adoption of multiple syndication methods like RSS, XML and APIs by a majority of web sites.

2) Verticalization: The success of generalist social networks and online video sites in 2006 means that we will see the arrival of a multitude of new specialized players in these two fields.

3) RSS: a clear business model for RSS will emerge. It will start replacing e-mail marketing as a way to communicate directly (and better) to your customers

4) Local will become more social / Social will become more local: A good example of the later is the addition of maps (often Google Maps, the poster child for Atomization!) in FiveLimes or Flickr.

5) Traditional Media will continue to realize that they desperately need to capture eyeballs online, leading to more online acquisitions and/or investments.

6) Long distance & local calls will continue their move towards free. Model might actually reverse itself and we might finally see the strong emergence of pay-per-call as a legitimate lead model for advertisers.

7) Traditional media will create SEO job positions. Search Engine Optimization is a key success factor for traditional media to be well positioned in search engines. Innovative companies will create Social Media Optimization (SMO) positions.

8) Video Monetization: a clear business model will emerge. Either Google’s acquisition of YouTube or the launch of the Venice Project (don’t bet against Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom…)

9) The proliferation of destination sites without clear business models will lead a lot of them to adopt the B2B business model, i.e. software licensing or ASP to traditional media companies.

There you go! Anything you would have added? Do you agree, disagree?

Social Media Optimization: 16 rules

After writing my “The Impact of Social Media on Businesses” post on Friday, I kept thinking about the concept of Social Media Optimization (SMO) mentioned by David Berkowitz. I believe there’s something very strong there, almost a new meme. By reading Rohit Bhargava‘s post on it, I discovered that there were now 16 rules around Social Media Optimization. Here they are:

  1. Increase your linkability (usually through fresh content)
  2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
  3. Reward inbound links (permalink, listing recent linking blogs)
  4. Help your content travel (if your content is portable, submit it to other relevant sites)
  5. Encourage the mashup (let others use your content)
  6. Be a User Resource, even if it doesn’t help you (include outbound links to areas that could help your users, even to your competitors)
  7. Reward helpful and valuable users (promote their work, develop a ranking system)
  8. Participate (join the conversation)
  9. Know how to target your audience
  10. Create content
  11. Be real
  12. Don’t forget your roots, be humble
  13. Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh
  14. Develop a SMO strategy (define your objectives and set goals)
  15. Choose your SMO tactics wisely
  16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices

Rohit Bhargava created the first five rules, Jeremiah Owyang added Rules 6 and 7, Cameron Olthuis added Rules 8, 9, 10, and 11, Loren Baker added Rules 12 and 13 and Lee Odden added Rules 14, 15 and 16

What it means: the new social media world has its own code of conduct that marketers need to understand if they want to leverage it. This list is a great introduction and gives you the basic notions needed to be successful. Again, I really think that this notion of SMO will be very important in the future as new generations use the Web in a much more interactive way.

Harry says: The irony of it, be social (join the conversation/ listen/ be humble) in what is technically an asocial medium (sitting alone in front of a computer).