If you’re part of the social media movement, you’re witnessing the annihilation of traditional media.
From newspapers to cable TV, everything is converging onto the internet resulting in a more accessible, cost-effective and integrated media.
Let’s look at some statistics courtesy of Sillicon Alley Insider:
– “Print ad sales fell 30% year-over-year in Q1, led by a 42% year-over-year drop in classified ad sales.”
– “Newspaper classified revenues peaked above $16 billion in 2005, only to plummet to an estimated $5 billion or so in 2009.”
– “A Bernstein survey says 35% of Web video watchers might dump their cable TV provider in favor of online video within 5 years.”
– “Some 63% of adult Americans had broadband Internet at home in April, up from 55% last May, according to the Pew Internet & American Life project.”
– “By the end of 2008, 20% of U.S. households had unplugged their landline phones and gone exclusively wireless, say surveys by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. That’s a huge increase from early 2005, when only about 7% of U.S. households were wireless-only.”
The Bigger Picture
Although the current recession has contributed to the decline of newspaper subscriptions and the increase in people viewing online videos; the truth of the matter is we’re no longer accessing or consuming information the same way.
This translates to a less effective advertising channel for brands and the bulk of the advertising dollars will be spent where consumers are spending their time – the web.
Furthermore, the convergence of technology has weakened the foundation of traditional media authorities especially those that didn’t have an immediate online strategy.
Even those with web1.0 strategy, the rapid expansion into web2.0 has left some without a social media strategy.
One thing is clear – internet will continue to grow as the cost of broadband continues to drop.
This means more people will have faster internet and faster internet takes us a step closer to the real-time web.
What does this mean to you?
It means instant access to data across the web with a massive coordination effort from social media.
Mass Amateurisation of Brands through Social Media
The rise of social media tools such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, and many other social networking sites has accelerated the spread of simplified media technologies, making it easy for anyone to access, participate, and share information.
Social media in particular is leading the way on what web commentator Clay Shirky called “the mass-amateurisation of everything.”
It is now possible for individuals to choose from a wide variety of communication arsenals outside of the mainstream commercial system to reach the mass audience.
As a result of this ubiquity of social media, individually created media content that originated on the internet has started to infect mass media.
This not only challenges the traditional media authorities, but it also created dynamic conversations across the globe.
Take the latest Iran incident as an example, Twitter was the fastest medium to report what had happened as it was happening before any other traditional media could get to it.
It enabled people all over the world to rapidly react to this piece of news and participate in support and interact with the people in Iran.
Take social bookmark sites like Digg, and Delicious for example, users are encouraged to “vote” for the top content they want to appear for maximum exposure.
These services aggregates content across the web to determine what content is popular making it easy to filter for individuals.
It’s like real-time TV/radio rating and you can simply choose from a list of categories within your interest.
In addition, there is now an element of choice and coordination to establish a new content authority.
You no longer have limitations on what’s available from newspaper or what’s on TV; you have millions of content to choose from or you can create your own.
This applies to blogs as well because you only have so much time to consume information, reading from one source means not reading from another.
As a result, blogs are taking readers away from authority sites and turning them into loyal subscribers.
If you’re reading this post, either you’re a new reader or a regular subscriber to my RSS or newsletter.
3 Ways to Capitalize on Social Media
In many ways, social media is still at the “technology trigger” aspect of the hype cycle. If you can capitalize on it, you will benefit by capitalizing on the destruction of traditional media.
Here are 3 ways to capitalize on this opportunity:
1. Expose your personality – Social media is a one-to-many interaction medium, it’s the perfect platform to personify your brand and build a fan base.
Demonstrate your expertise is important but showing your personality can be the difference between choosing to engage with you versus others. This will ultimately convert visitors to fans, transform viewers to participants.
Give your audience a reason to engage by revealing your emotions and even political stance will help you to stand out, be a person not a company and have fun.
Remember, it’s impossible to be liked by everyone and you won’t be anyway, the key is to create synergy with those that like you in order to foster trust.
A great example is the CEO of Zappos who updates his every move via Twitter with what he does and how he interacts with his employees, creating a personable, likeable, transparent identity that everyone can relate to.
2. Drive engagement and visibility – One of the disadvantages of traditional media is the limitation of engagement opportunities.
This is different in social media. You can create your own opportunity to be “high touch” with your audience by sending update notifications, creating a poll, asking to join your group, conducting an offline event, or promoting a cause.
Combine engagement with marketing through conversation will reduce resistance to you brand’s message.
As a result, your fans will become your best evangelists. However, there is a fine line between a prolifically active brand and an annoy spammer.
The key is to become a good listener and allow conversations to come to you before reacting swiftly.
If you do it right, you will succeed in coordinating a massive word-of-mouth campaign, a sharing frenzy across all social media platform that increases your brand loyalty.
Get it wrong, you will need to put out the fire with reputation management strategies.
I recommend having different social media accounts to provide a focused-orientated engagement strategy.
Dell is the best example for this as the company has more than 30 Twitter accounts that they use to communicate to very specific audiences.
Ford also got more than 7 Twitter channels to handle customer service and reputation management.
3. Leverage multimedia and mobile platforms – As I’ve mentioned before, all media has converged onto the internet so why not use all of them to maximize the experience.
You can easily create your own podcast now, load it up to iTune or deliver it in mp3 format.
For images, you can use Yahoo’s Flickr, Google’s Picasa, or Twitpic to share it on Twitter.
By far the most powerful multimedia content is the use of videos through YouTube or Viemo.
Although still limited by network and bandwidth, there are a few “live” video streaming social media tool that’s making headways specifically UStream.tv, Blip.tv and Justin.tv.
Not only do people respond different via a variety of media formats enabling a broader reach, there is an increasing demand for location-based interaction as well.
Thanks for iPhone and BlackBerry, mobile web content delivery is now an important consideration of a brand’s social media marketing strategy.
The cost of mobile broadband will continue to drop enabling mobile rich-media content to be produced and distributed anywhere.
The exciting part about mobile content is the ability to target location based users then engages them with relevant content.
Are you capitalizing on the rapid growth of Social Media?
Or do you still believe in traditional media?