Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

We Are The Champions

An important reminder that you are on the right path…

Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now.

Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this: social networking is not just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.

Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, and the like, are now pervasive, becoming an extension of who we are, and forming valuable social hubs that connect people who share interests and tastes. As a result, the activity within each network is influencing the decisions and referrals consumers ultimately make, usually without the benefit of our participation.

The are over 500 million registered accounts on Facebook, over 100 million on Twitter, even the up-and-coming location-based network Foursquare boasts over 1 million users. And, for the record, the average age of a person using Facebook is 38 and those using Twitter hover around 39. Even MySpace boasts a median age of 31.

What does that mean for you?

The socialization of media and the democratization of influence is changing everything, from how consumers find places, products, and services, how and where they share their experiences, and eventually, where they will spend their time and money. Without an understanding of, or participation in, social networks, we are absent from shaping or contributing to the decision making process of those who define the health and success of our business. Yes, right now, decisions are made with or without us.

We can no longer ignore or minimize the changes unfolding before us. Everything begins without fully knowing what to do, why it’s important and whether or not we’re doing everything the right way. But it is in the process of engagement that we learn and mature.

While Social Media cheat-sheets and short cuts are available almost everywhere you look, the truth is that we have some work ahead of us. In short, you get out of it, what you invest.

Engage or die!

Please consider reading, Engage!: It might just change the way you think about Social Media

Get Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and The Conversation Prism:

Image Credit: Shutterstock

126 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “We Are The Champions”

  1. Dan Collins says:

    Your book “Exchange” is a marked exception to the majority of books in the social media sphere. It provides actionable intelligence and insight to what those who wish to leverage this communication medium in business need. Brian -Thank you for cutting to the chase.

  2. Really surprised by the average Myspace age. I thought that had tanked when everyone transitioned over to Facebook.

  3. Mary O'Brien says:

    While not surprised, I am glad to see some concrete data on the age of users across various social networks. I only anticipate the average age increasing as user adoption continues — the young and tech-savvy are usually on the cutting-edge of these trends. As sites like Facebook and MySpace have become mainstream, it's not surprising that niche sites have formed (ie, or that median age on the mainstream sites has increased. To me, this is a sign that these are viable not only for B2C marketing but also increasingly for B2B marketing. Social networks aren't just for kids anymore, but also marketers, business executives, and decision-makers.

  4. Hi Brian. Interesting observations that are certainly worth considering. I love your book and your blog, but there is something I have to comment on. The stock photos you use on your blog are not worth your standards. They are in my opinion, superficial and does not live up to your otherwise lovely honest approach to online communications. Think about it. Anyway, thanks for your excellent and inspiring work with social media.

    • briansolis says:

      Martin, it's an interesting comment…thank you for sharing. When I used other pictures that were more representative of the honest approach, others suggested that they were too off putting. I guess I'll need to find the balance.

    • I believe social media is about honesty and being close to the people, you are trying to reach. Real photos of real situations brings us closer to the people sharing. I would rather like to see a photo of your desk, a screenshot etc. something real, instead of a random girl in a picture with obvious symbolics…

      (I apologize my poor english writing skills, I'm from Denmark:-)

    • laurentiubancu says:

      I totally agree with you!

    • briansolis says:

      Trying a new image…

  5. Go2Mach2 says:

    Thanks Brian…

    Social Media age chart was interesting. I agree we all have more to understand about the true nature of Social Media networking and the best way to utilize it.

    The question I often hear from clients is: “What is the best strategy for me in this area”. The answer is: “It depends” – and there lies the dilemma. Most companies have still not integrated Socia Media into their overall “Business Strategy”, never mind their Marketing Strategies. This form of marketing requires an investment of both time and some dollar commitment – and their are still enough glitches in the news i.e., the Facebook privacy issues, to slow down many mid-size companies.

    The solution – Keep working on it! I believe as more metrics become available to better evaluate the effects of Social Media Marketing (the Bottom Line effects), the easier it will become to identify the strategies that are effective versus those that might sound good but have very little benefit to a company's bottom line.

    Again…Thanks for a good post…

  6. Mike Stenger says:

    We absolutely have some work ahead of us. I hear a lot of people get surprised when they find out this social media stuff takes a good amount of work. “You really thought you could just plug in a few things, hit go, then go about your business as you normally would?”

    Doesn't work that way. To build anything of value, takes work. Social media is no exception.

    Sorry I haven't commented here in a little while Brian, been caught up with other things. How have you been?

  7. juliacassidy says:

    Well, I totally agree with the insight given by the article and from what I can tell, based on the quote that says “Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this: social networking is not just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.” I believe that social media stopped being just a social interacting method a long time ago, just when businesses discovered that they could dominate social media sites and use them to convey their messages and to make profit out of them, and from the people that still use these sites only for personal purposes.
    It is always good to think about it and be aware of this.
    Thank you for sharing this post.

  8. In the UK social media is fuelled by people with too much free time on their hands. The problem is getting sufficient numbers of these people to convert into revenue. Unfortunately while the percentages of conversion are the same in the UK as the US, the sheer volume of people is drastically smaller, which leads to less rewarding work.

  9. znmeb says:

    Brian, until we have easy-to-understand CRM, monitoring and analytics tools, get a solid grip on privacy and develop scalable and reproducible social media business processes, “social media” is going to remain a playground.

    We're at the *peak* of the social hype cycle now. Facebook has gotten big and obnoxious, the teabaggers now know how to use social media just as effectively as the Obama campaign did, and Twitter seems to be struggling to be both a force for good and a competitive profit-making machine. My money is on Google, Apple and Amazon to continue to define B2C marketing this year.

  10. Dara Bell says:

    I do not really agree with SuspiciousCat. Why would people spending time on social media in their spare time be an issue. It is communication device, we call each other on the phone after work. Some people spend hours watching TV.

    The only people that complain about social media are the ones that are getting left behind. I see this mostly in established PR circles, in there spare time I imagine they are attending Social Media conferences and getting schooled up.

    Lets face it we just really want to reach people where they are playing, the adult sandpits. If adults are here we must play with them. Also your point on leisure time is incorrect people increasing have less free time are working longer hours. I also disagree with you Suspiciouscat that there is a problem converting these people. If you look at how free album sales from Radiohead we see they have sold more by free models and fee content. The spaces have driven the sales not the free model, they have defined the product made it takable.

    People buy if 1) you are where they are 2) you offering them something unique or new.
    3) Connecting with them and giving info on what you sell ie salesmenship, even free stuff. 4) Saving money by using SM frees money to spend on groovy graphic design. 5) You build Trust models of engagement 6) You care about them and love Customers 7) You try to bring some personal branding to the conversation so the product is irrelevant and people know what to expect and always need to have a piece of you i.e an info product or uselful service, even “your” widget.

  11. Dara Bell says:

    The Afterthought. points 8) 9) 10)

    Think the tools mark a major shift in Gen Y business. Kevin Rose posting his goals on his blog at the beggining of the year may signal a shift in business startegy and networking through the tools. Will he meet people as result to support his goals, will the 1 million people reading his post via Twitter change the way the game is played. Perhaps extensions ,the tools, are extensions of who we are.

  12. PhillBarufkin says:

    Social media is another marketing tool and should be treated as such. So, beyond what was talked about, the same type of strategic rigor and marketing planning that is applied to any communication program should be done so for social media to most effectively advance business.

    Phill Barufkin is a strategist, planner and researcher who works with businesses to deploy integrated marketing programs.

  13. So true. We are all brand champions thanks to social media. There're aren't any set game plans, but plan is also a verb allowing us movement to grow and learn. We should embrace engagement.

  14. Steve says:

    Totally agree Brian…we can no longer ignore these changes. Facebook has been getting a lot of negative press here in Oz lately…privacy issues, stalking, harassment and even murder. But when you think about it, all social networks are just a reflection of the society we actually live in, warts and all. Engage we must…

  15. shoegalfi says:

    SuspiciousCat is an imposter and is in no way associated with the Shoegal blog they are using as their URL.

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    Cool! I like this post. Very interesting!

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