— blending the mix

2011 is your time to deliver. The clock is ticking.

There’s so man people writing about what 2011 means for social media, it’s almost not worth listening to any of it – the echo chamber is in FULL effect. But the clock is ticking:

“It’s the year of mobile”, “the year of location-based services”, social networks, twitter makes money and er…doesn’t change the world, Facebook makes a multi-billionaire of everyone who has invested in it and overtakes everything…social (even Facebook) currency replaces real currency (Linden dollars anyone !!) so where do you start?

Well…whatever you read or are thinking about doing, let me tell you that this year won’t be about ANYTHING related to technology or platforms – it will be about 2 things:

1) Justification
2) Time Management

1) Justification

Social media had its messing around time in 2009/10 – brands had extended beyond the peripheral “branded outposts” and had done enough e-consultancy training to kinda understand that they needed to talk about what their customers wanted rather than them, but the screw is turning now.

Where budget holders were reluctant but ultimately resigned to giving you some money to tinker with the Facebook presence, they now want to know what your efforts are achieving. The smart ones of them will accept that it won’t solely be about money, but they WILL want to know why you are complaining you don’t have enough time to get the PoS stuff out of the door, or the direct mail campaign signed off.

It is time to stand up and be accountable – justify your time to your superiors and show them that you are delivering tangible impact to the business.

Whatever your the objectives of your social media activity, make sure they are:

a) clear (i.e. defined)

b) understood

c) bought-into (by various part of the business that are affected)
2) Time management

The correct management of social media and finding the time to make sure that whichever part of the business social media affects, is probably going to be your killer challenge this year – and you won’t be given any slack for cocking it up now.

Remember all the late nights you were working to get done in the day, all the stuff you never had time for because you were acting on behalf of a client during the day? Ah, yes. Won’t work this year. You’ll be expected to plan, cost, sell-in and deliver – on time and on budget like everybody else in the business.

If you did a half,-decent job, your client will likely have renewed their retainer and be expecting much more than a few tweets here and there, or several tweets at night (when their customers have gone to bed). You’ll need to be much smarter with your time, more disciplined, booked-in and better understand your customer’s customer better than before. In a way, it is time to peel back the old cliche’s and understand intimately and precisely,why they became cliche’s in the first place. i.e.:

1. Understand exactly where they are (which channels, specific sites, pages, groups they hang out on/in)
2. Understand precisely their content preferences (i.e. what they talk about most and with what tools/channels – categorise and tag their content, are you matching this?)
3. Understand and gain a natural instinct for the posting styles, types and patterns  – match your content output to theirs, times and type.

To help you on your way, remember, the (campaign) objective defines the time allocated to it:

1. Customer service – tends to be little and often, all day/night
2. Reputation management – sometimes a little bit of content infrequently, sometimes a lot, sometimes a lot, often
3. Content creation – less often, longer to create, long(er) approval process
4. Content curation/bookmarking – frequent, all times of the day, (sometimes) time-consuming

Taking the volumes of content of each of these types of “uses” into account (ex. how many positive Facebook comments or images occur, how many negative Twitter ones occur, how many blog comments you need to reply to etc.) gives you a much better idea of how much time you need to respond to each. Try these as a starter:

  • 2 minutes per tweet
  • 10 minutes per un-researched blog comment reply
  • 2 hours per properly-researched blog post – allowing 10 days for legal sign-off 😉

Remember: the objective defines the channel, the channel defines the type and quantity of content you create, the volume of comments defines the time you spend engaged with customers.

You’ve been talking about it for a long, time, you’ve been practising it for a fair bit – now is the time you will be expected to deliver.

Go forth and deliver.

6 comments
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Fabretti. Paul Fabretti said: From the blog: 2011 is your time to deliver. The clock is ticking. http://bit.ly/gx02al <— would love your thoughts. […]

  2. Anonymous says: January 3, 201111:20 pm

    Paul

    A strong kick-off post for the year, thanks! Point 1 resonates more directly with my current projects/clients but I’m hoping Point 2 will become more relevant sooner rather than later in 2011. A longer-form piece on both elements covered here would be great – poss video or audio/interview type thing.

    Cheers then

    Tim

  3. Chris Bridgett says: January 4, 20119:01 am

    all good points.. with my clients I spend more and more time monitoring and reporting to justify. Most of my clients didn’t ask for measurements but as I’ve shown them how to measure and what metrics to use the social side is now more fully intergrated with the overall marketing /comms strategy (rather than a bolt on). As for time management and working freelance as I do , its a tough one, 2011 is the year we all have to filter out the noise and focus on what matters and is of interest to our clients. I also expect to hear Twitter being mentioned in the divorce courts for the first time !! Have a good 2011.

  4. Anonymous says: January 4, 20112:26 pm

    Cheers Tim, much appreciated and thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I think Point 1, really, is something that everyone should be working on doing if they are worth their salt. I guess anyone who can’t define or understand what it is they are doing for a client doesn’t deserve to be let in the door in the first place!

    As for 2, I think it’s something that will continue to catch a LOT of people out. So many brands and agencies I see just do not understand just how much time a lot of this takes. The problems is that they need to live up the hype that they have sold in to the client – and need to make the hours up to deliver what they have promised = big problems of scale…or profitability when small.

  5. Anonymous says: January 4, 20112:28 pm

    Interesting on using the reporting to justify – I know where you are coming from (if I’ve read this correctly!). It seems almost a defensive to prove that something is being done – but I guess if raising awareness of one of your goals, then showing that conversations are happening, then monitoring/reporting is a perfectly decent way to show an impact.

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