Are we all doing the same thing? ... continued.
Before I jump into my post and share with you some thoughts I want to point out to everyone that Tyler has moved to London so beyond taking Adjoke global a few other things have changed. The biggest change Tyler and I can no longer grab a beer or sit on the couch and discuss and debate each others posts and thoughts.
This change will be great for Adjoke as we now have the opportunity to share our conversations with you.
So onto my post....
As Tyler mentioned brands and agencies are flocking to the social media world faster than 16 year old girls to a Coach 75% off sale and by the end of 2010 every brand will have some sort of social media campaign, page or presence.
As we flock to the space and companies invest they are looking for "tangible" results and they are looking for them very quickly. This demand paired with agencies that are lost in the space and generally a lack of strategy has turned the social media brand experience into a contest corner or a bargain bin. Brands are looking to get tangible results so agencies deliver high-value contests and promotions as it is the easiest way to build a base of fans (not targeted consumers or quality networks). The problem is that this is also the strategy that the agencies are using to sustain the social media efforts. If your agency is recommending an ongoing strategy around pure promotional engagement do yourself, your budgets and your fans a favour and send out and RFP or email me :).
Before I continue to talk about the brand and agency challenges, lets talk about the most important piece of the puzzle, the consumer. If you were to ask 1 million users of social media why they joined Facebook, or why the signed up for Twitter, etc none of them would say it is because they are "excited about how social media offers them a completely new way to engage with brands" OR "that they are looking to deepen their brand relationships".
Brand experiences and promotions is NOT why consumers flocked to the space or why they will continue to engage with it.
They started engaging in social media and continue to because it offers them something of value. The benefits of social media are different for almost every user, whether it be connecting with friends, access to entertainment, a channel to share their creations, to join in conversations they care about, to keep up to date on content and topics that matter to them, to raise their profile within their industry, to find a job, a girlfriend/friend, drive sales or identify insights and learn about their target market; everyone has a different motivation.
Now brands can use promotions to drive initial awareness and build a base, but before they do they should have a strategy about how they will transition to offering something valuable (content, exclusive access, connections, etc) to their consumer that also benefits the brand. If the only value you can bring to social media is contests your organization is in a lot more trouble then not having a strong social media presence.
Once you go beyond delivering free shit to everyone and begin delivering value to your target consumer through social media your brand will be rewarded and thanked by consumers.