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The Ever Changing Landscape of Social Media

Things come and things go… especially in the world of technology. It seems that anything to do with computers… and that includes the web… seems to accelerate at an astonishing speed.

Of course the problem that this creates is simply one of overwhelm. How does one keep up with the latest when both the number and complexity of “new ideas and opportunities” that simply can’t be missed grows at such a rate.

The obvious (and most used) solution is of course automation… but what should we automate? Let’s have a closer look at the primary factors that we are dealing with in Social Media and then come back to the question just raised.

For simplicities sake social interaction has been broken down in many places to the simplest base of two operations. Often referred to as inner and outer scores they are the basic and primary indicator for measuring social influence on the web… and for good reason as they measure the two primary factors that contribute towards influence… reach and content.

One or Many

The first factor… reach is very easily understood… it is simply how many people you can potentially interact with… how many followers do you have on Twitter… how many friends, or likes, on Facebook… contacts on Linked In etc… etc… Reach in old world marketing terms would be considered to be equivalent to prospects (at it’s broadest) or customers in a narrower view. Improving reach is one of the primary skills needed in good social marketing.

The Good Stuff or the Light Fluff

Then there is the second factor to consider… the rather nebulous “Quality”… the inner score. Quality, in my experience, is an extremely misunderstood quality (pun intended) It is often thought of as as “being the best” and associated with glitz, glamour, authority and brand… however this is a misconception… for a simple example think of the “price shopper” they are most definitely NOT looking for brand or packaging… so the thing that represents value to them is not the same as the person who has to have the best of everything… and your ”quality” will be judged by whether they find what they are looking for… so quality can really be most accurately understood as content that reaches the audiences expectation. The measure of quality is of course interaction in the form of re-tweets, shares and likes (and all that) and people will be rather reluctant to share or pass on things that they are not interested in.

Aye… There’s the rub

Of course to some extent the two factors above are in a constant sort of war… the absolute best results in reach are obviously reflected by sheer volume of numbers… BUT… the problem there is that you will inevitably have a muddled and ill defined market place… which means that your message will possibly be ill suited to the majority of people that you have reached… and thus your quality (even if technically magnificent) will be in fact poor… simply because you have missed your audience… and as you have not engaged their interest then you will not consequently see vast interaction…

So now this leads us back to the original question… what and how to automate… and how to reach YOUR market… Certainly, as far as automation goes, there is a double edged sword. There are certainly things that can be automated and should but these must of necessity be confined to procedure as opposed to content unless you wish a poor result from the second measure (Quality)

As an example and purely from a personal viewpoint I look forward to the death of automated “spinners” as social indicators become the norm in scoring. (programs that rewrite content in order for it to be able to be published as “original” on multiple sites so that the author can achieve a ubiquitous presence without the tedium of actually creating in volume) There is never going to be an automation that can produce the same result as a story written from the heart.

So what do you think? How much automation is enough and what should (and should not) be automated… I will submit that the opinions of my audience are far more important than mine in this respect… after all that is the premise of social media (and all truly effective marketing) in the first place.

In a future post I will be looking at some of the new (and not so new) social media sites that seek to measure or assist your performance in this area…

Till then
Greg Vaughan