Here's a link to a presentation I gave last week. Forgive me for the "conversation 2.0" moniker but it's a catchy way to pinpoint what's happening right now in the world of marketing. Marketers and brands have always had conversations, but at a much slower pace and mediated by professional parties. That's no longer the case. Conversation 2.0, that is, the Web 2.0-enabled conversation, shifts places and times; it is ubiquitous and doesn't pause--it is, in all senses of the meaning, a "never ending conversation."
Thus, "social marketing," derived from the more common "social media marketing," is all marketing that utilizes the social graph of both marketer and audience (in fact, the interesting thing is that they can be one and the same) to facilitate and cultivate a conversation. Social marketing is whenever more than two individuals collaborate online or offline for content generation and distribution. Social marketers harness the viral power of social networks in order to grow both the frequency and the reach of conversations exponentially. They know how to feed the social orbit with content that catalyzes conversations. And they understand that an "architecture of participation," that lets employees be marketers, has become paramount for turning brands into live brands.
The media of the new era of social marketing are characterized by the following attributes:
-- Hybrid: The boundaries between institutions and players are blurring. This results in the mash-up of producer and consumer (prosumer), fan and consumer (fansumer), professional and amateur (proteur), and the convergence of media, platforms, and communication modes.
-- Adaptive: Change happens in real time and is organically built into the social media mechanisms. The never-ending conversation is in fact a never-ending loop; feedback is creation, creation is feedback.
-- Transparent: Everything is visible to everyone. Self expression and revelation go hand in hand. Privacy has become a public asset, and the more you share, the more (information) you will receive in return.
-- Open: Open is the new closed. Everybody can join. Systems are becoming inter-operable. The best way to build loyalty and retain visitors is to let them go whenever and wherever they want to go. The best way to lock customers into your business model is if you open it up for everyone. Seth Goldstein just had a great post about this, in which he argued that open systems need to be closed, to a certain extent, in order to function.
-- Micro: The online social universe is fragmented into an increasing number of micro-universes that develop their own micro-crowds and micro-formats. Micro is the new macro: Not only is "small the new big," and "selling less of more" may be "the future of business" (The Long Tail) -- communicating more of less is the future of media and communications. More and more businesses identify and carve out untapped niches for their business models with ever more targeted, personalized, and localized offerings.
-- Social graph: It's not just who you know; it's what you know about what who you know knows. We are "a crowd of one" (Clippinger), an interdependent cohort of individual personas. We experience a widgetization of content, of social behavior, of value(s).
-- Instant: "Now is gone" (Geoff Livingston). Everything that happens is happening immediately or not at all. Live-Chat, live-streaming or 24/7 life-casting (Justin.tv)--we want it all and we want it now. The time between action and reflection has shrunk to zero. Beta is eclipsing meta.