Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Power of the People (and Facebook)!!!

Every year or two, one important tool or another suddenly becomes it… A few years back, it was RSS, SecondLife and MySpace, today it is LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Who really knows what it will be two years from now? I have always thought Twitter is really just a feature to be ultimately subsumed into other solutions, and so it seems that is happening. Every major community (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, etc…) has a “twitter-like” feature.

I, suppose, as marketers, the key is realizing that the rules of the game are changing on how people adapt to and interact using the Web… and that with the Web, really the power of the people take over. Here are a couple of lessons I have learned.

1 – Your brand or image is no longer in your control. I placed two headshots that I had recently taken in my Facebook photos. There was nothing more to this innocent gesture. Little did I know that all of my friends would start voting on which one they liked better. Now, I had a viral contest on my hands (or really, out of my hands, as I never started it and I couldn’t stop it)… the network was in control.

2 – Your private life and personal life are now one. Trying to separate who you are, where you work, and how you interact is not the way the Web works. On the Web, people assume and want transparency. Hiding everything personal behind “that’s personal” doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong – some things are still personal. It’s just that the line has changed. Did I tell you that from the viral voting on my headshot, a colleague, after voting, e-mailed me to talk about buying some of our services?

3 – You have to be in the game. There is no way to understand the phenomenon without being a part of it. Of course, there are thousands of communities out there, so you could spend your working life trying to keep them all up-to-date… that won’t work. So, pick and use the main ones (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) to get started. If you are not, you are missing out on experiencing the most important marketing lessons of the day. You couldn’t be an ad agency and not own a TV to watch ads, right? So, stop making excuses if you don’t have an account.

Well, that’s it for now… oh, and by the way, the headshot with the glasses won…

This opine is officially over and out.

Sami Jajeh

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