In the last couple of weeks I have been talking to you about issues we will be addressing at our Business Summit on 17th of October.
Now it is only just around the corner and it is my pleasure to give you a ‘look through the key hole’ into the third speaker at the Summit.
Alister Cameron is the person who has encouraged me to get into the web as a participant rather than an observer or consumer. He has a way of making things ‘make sense’ which I have found helpful and refreshing. I’m really looking forward to his, session so here’s a preview.
From Alister’s Desk
I’d like to invite you to consider two very different ways of looking at the fast and furious developments we’re seeing on the internet…
We can look either from the vantage-point of the average “user”, or from the perspective of the marketer. But since all good marketing starts with a really deep and comprehensive answer to the question “Who is my customer?” we had better first understand the former… not just as observers but as participants.
Frankly, what’s happening online these days is way too fun and exciting to remain on the sidelines as an observer.
More things to do
First off, there has never been so much to do online.
The web is full of attractive, engaging, entertaining and consuming experiences, for almost every age-group. Kids are flocking to Neopets, teens are socializing on MySpace, young adults are throwing sheep at each other on Facebook, photographers are sharing photos on Flickr and everyone is checking out the latest funny video on YouTube.
And far from passing fancies, these online communities boast massive and ever-growing memberships of fiercely loyal and “busy” participants.
More people to know
In case you somehow hadn’t noticed, the web is social.
No major new website or online services can launch these days without the obligatory “friend” features or hooks into Facebook and MySpace. Most of us arrive at our email inbox each morning to face at least one email inviting us to accept a friend request from someone-or-other. And it’s no surprise that the web is “going social”, since we humans are relational animals, and the web is shaping more and more around what we are like.
As a fairly committed “netizen” I note that of the few programs on my computer that I always have running, a good number of them connect me to other people, including Skype, Firefox, my email program and Tweetdeck (a Twitter program… never mind!).
More fun for marketers
Seen from a marketers perspective, this maturing of the World Wide Web, and this “social” emphasis — this humanizing of everything — is exciting and laced with opportunity. I say this because the best marketing takes advantage of “human nature” and how humans behave, and now — more and more — the web is allowing humans to behave more “naturally”.
If we have more to do online, and if we can do it more relationally, then the web is going to feel more and more natural to us. It follow that we’re going to feel more and more comfortable online and will spend more and more time there, in productive and pleasurable activity. And the research tells us this is exactly what’s happening.
Participate or perish
My encouragement to marketers is to get into it! As I will discuss at the Summit, there is no better way to come to a mature and accurate understanding of the “social web” than to get involved. Here are some ways to do that:
- Wikipedia is an online user-maintained encyclopedia. Squidoo and Google‘s Knol are (sort of) similar — they’re all “wikis“. If you’re an expert in some given subject-matter, sign up to one of these sites and contribute your knowledge. It’s a great way to meet others with similar passions. And you’ll be amazed what brainiacs are out there.
- Find a friend or family member who knows their way around Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or similar, and ask them to give you the “guided tour”. Ask them to help you get going with your own user account.
- “Google”/research keywords and terms that correspond to your company’s products and services. Is your company mentioned anywhere? Are your competitors? What mentions are positive and which are negative? How many mentions are on blogs and how many are in the “professional media”?
Much has been said — and continues to be said — about the way that the “social web” requires marketers to abandon monologue, in favour of a conversational approach. Of course, that sentence needs a lot of explanation and unpacking. But the point I want to leave you with now, is that all this will not “sink in” for you unless you dive in yourself. You need to become a participant yourself!
There are many “a ha!” experiences ahead for you, but they start with the determination to try something new. So go for it!
If you’re looking for me online, here’s where you can find me!
At the One Sherpa Summit, Alister will likely be our most popular speaker and every time I’ve seen him share, he has a way of connecting with the crowd. I guess that’s why he is one of Australia’s foremost bloggers and a great marketer.
See you on Friday…