If you're not aware of the digital social revolution taking place; welcome to the planet...
You may want to select a name, gender take a picture and get yourself a Facebook profile. While you're about it you'd better check out Twitter and Google+ and probably get Facebook & Google+ Pages for your business here on Earth; and perhaps a LinkedIn account and BranchOut, and Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious; and a YouTube account, etc etc.
While you are racing to get your profiles established you may be wondering, with the rest of humanity, why, on earth, this phenomenon is so transformational and so global, how we lived so long without it and how you can use it in marketing and still retain some or your sanity.
Well I think I can answer one of those questions and perhaps another one also.
Alan Perlis said, "simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it." That effectively sums up what it is to be human and also describes why Social Media is so very effective. It is simply human, it is just relational. But being simply human, it turns out, is a very complex thing, a lot more complex than we have given it credit for.
Governments, corporations and organizations since Socrates have been searching for a way to mass-measure individuals without generalizing them. The trouble is that the more accurate the measurement the more bureaucratic and less human the process of measuring. And so for a very long time we have had to squeeze our varied shapes, religions, preferences, forms, abilities, hairstyles, IQ's, ethnos, earnings (and a million other things which make us individuals) into disparate and narrow little columns which have populated registers and spreadsheets alike for thousands of years. And equally narrow minded people have sifted through the "data" to find the trends and patterns that they defined as "human".
So humans have been thought of, and have thought of themselves, as "extensions of ..." church, brands, employers, genres, genders, styles, generations, ethnic groups, etc, etc. But that is not a very human way to examine humans. We are not merely a sum total of a smattering of our various parts.
Marketers have for centuries tried to reach people in this backwards insincere way, employers have tried to own people in an equally Pharaohical fashion.
Along came the Social Media essentially asking individuals how they would like to be perceived... what a novel idea!
Business, societies, political parties are, it turn out, extensions of people; and yet somehow we have known this all along, this is the way we actually operate, how we value and evaluate. Social Media has turned the world right way up.
You never go to a meeting as a business attached to a person, you go as a person who works for a business:
It's so obvious, when you look at it that way, isn't it?
And that, folks, is why Social Media is such a big human hit, and why it's not going away any time soon. No longer are we being forced into the cells of a spreadsheet, instead we each create our own fields and so find commonality in meaningful ways.
So how does this help you to pay your bills?
Well that's the easy bit, the answer is to Own your own community!
It's never a great idea to put all your eggs into one basket but also don't put them all into someone else's basket. The simple fact is that you don't own your fans on Twitter, Facebook or G+. I'm not suggesting abandoning social media, on the contrary; but I am suggesting also building an online community that you do own.
Social Media, a blog and a cool looking website are not going to do it on their own. You actually need the tools built into your website that enable you to own your own small piece of the Social Media revolution, and while you're about it make your site mobile ready also. This is not something you want to try and do on your own, but the tools are available to do it quickly, effectively and affordably.