OK, I’m a little behind it wrapping up this discussion. Things are really getting crazy around here.
A couple of weeks ago I started talking about how SEO is not your biggest concern with your website and then followed up with how social networks followed that up with creating target audiences. My premise is that both of the automated egalitarian technologies are being gamed by companies and building a basic distrust within their audiences. I wrapped up my last post with:
“So we are entering into another cycle; one that will be difficult for the current players to understand. It is a cycle that will be based on ethics and trust and it is something that cannot be generated by an algorithm.”
We’re going to build on that today.
Trust is at the core of all genuine communication. Once that goes out the window so does the communication. That’s why search worked for a while because it wasn’t in the hands of the marketing department... until they figure that out. That’s why social media (beginning with Friendster and Myspace) engendered trust because recommendations came from people you trusted... until the marketers figured that out, too.
The problem with modern marketing is that there is an inherent imperative to “capture” market attention with communication media and hold it. That’s the purpose of sophisticated SEO, website design, and social media strategy. Everyone who truly understands media knows that is an impossible task, especially in the age of internet communication, and yet companies hold onto the paradigm. Even media companies fall into the trap trying to find ways to make their audience at least bookmark their page.
The impossibility of that effort is due to the fact that there is absolutely no way to wall your audience off. There are too many holes in the infrastructure. Keeping your audience is like trying to eat warm jello with a fork.
So if you can’t entice your audience to stay with you with technology and you can’t make them only loyal to your Facebook page or website, how do you stay in front of your audience as much as possible so they don’t forget you or learn to mistrust you?
Ethics and sharing. It’s that simple.
Social media works not because it is controllable but because it isn’t. People will follow and engage with individuals on Facebook even if they don’t agree with them as long as you are sharing valuable content and demonstrating that you can be trusted. That’s what services like Klout are all about. If all you share is about how wonderful your company is, they know you are a shill and will either filter you out or “defriend” you. But if you provide valuable information that may or may not be related to what you do, even if it basically disagrees with your positions, then you become a trusted source.
Moreover, the people in your network will start to share your content, regardless of what they think of your opinion, which increases your influence beyond those you already know. Growth happens organically.
And that is what is about to happen in a relatively small segment of the tech industry very soon. This organization is going to start creating and sharing content that has been vetted outside of the marketing department. The sharing will not just be on their website or social media pages, but in partnership with traditional media. In turn, they will provide connection to those media partners within their own online presence. What is about to happen is the socialization of a corporate entity.
There are other companies trying to do this, but they are stuck in the paradigm that requires them to capture and hold audiences; that requires that the content stays “on message.” It’s the paradigm that fails.
It’s what I’ve been talking about for 7 years. It’s about to happen.