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Collective Wisdom:    Some expert thinking on five social media questions as we enter the first decade

3.How do we separate hype from reality in social media as we enter 2010?

3.How do we separate hype from reality in social media as we enter 2010?

Visit Scott Fox's blog
Scott Fox
E-Commerce Success Blog
Social media are just tools. Your audience's expectations for engagement should dictate your choice of those tools(instead of following the latest early adopter trends or "guru-recommended" hype). If you also use social media tools to listen to what your customers want, your social media efforts will naturally match the interests of your target audience and increase ROI.

Visit Andy Beal's blog
Andy Beal
Marketing Pilgrim
Don't look at social media as a one-off project. This is not something you create for a product launch, then neglect once the campaign is over.

Visit Jay Baer's blog
Jay Baer
Convince & Convert
Consumers will do that separation for us. If it feels like you're forcing the issue with your social media marketing, you are.

Visit David Berkowitz's blog
David Berkowitz
Inside the Marketers Studio
I wish there was some magic answer for it. At my agency, we always ask four questions about any new strategy or vendor which can separate a lot of the hype: Does it meet the marketer's objectives, does it leverage their arsenal (all of the assets digital, physical, and brand-oriented that resonate with consumers), does it follow the rules of the road for any platform where it would run, and what's the value for consumer or end user? If you have answers to these questions, you're off to a good start.

Visit Lisa Barone's blog
Lisa Barone
Outspoken Media
Outspoken Media blog
Its whether or not you can do something with the numbers. Having 5,000 Twitter followers is hype until you can successfully get them to your Web site. Having 2,000 Facebook fans is hype until they're making purchases on your Web site. Having 25,000 blog subscribers is hype until you can get them into a membership program. It's about being able to leverage the fans, followers and subscribers in a way that ultimately grows your business. Without that step, all social media is you talking to yourself.

Visit Brian Solis's blog
Brian Solis
Brian Solis (blog)
Practice and measurement. Also, stop reading the case studies that everyone publishes in social media as none of them are measuring the ROI of their engagement using metrics that positively impact the business in the near and long term. Stop listening and start writing your own success story.

Visit Alexander van Elsas's blog
Alexander van Elsas
Ask yourself, how can my company/business integrate social media into its core processes. It's not a hot project, or a hype technology. It needs to radically change the way the business interacts with its customers. Keep it simple, don't jump every bandwagon, but instead ask yourself the question "how will this benefit my customer?"

Visit Samir Balwani's blog
Samir Balwani
Samir Balwani (blog)
Simple, I ask - did it work? Test platforms that will work for your business. Where are your consumers? How are they interacting online? The reality of the situation is that only you know your consumers well enough to answer these questions.

Visit Chris Burdge's blog
Chris Burdge
bWEST Interactive
The watch words for 2010 will be "authenticity" (consumers will answer that one for you) "conversations" and "engagement". Social media is not a killer app and not right for every company. Don't try to force fit something that doesn't feel right.

Visit Ari Herzog's blog
Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog & Associates
I recall June 2009 when the U.S. State Department asked Twitter management to delay rebooting its server because the government was monitoring tweets in Tehran. Twitter agreed to delay its server maintenance by a day. When Twitter is used as a conduit to affect societal change, it's not hype. Yet, the typical company wants to create a Twitter account because the media and other firms hype its importance. I recently wrote at http://ariwriter.com/why-social-media-is-a-fad/ about the importance to not confuse the tool with the hype about the tool. Let's keep the Tehran on Twitter case study in mind as we enter 2010.

Visit Joe Pulizzi's blog
Joe Pulizzi
The Content Marketing Revolution
It's reality for companies if social media helps to accomplish their marketing goals. When a company can't figure out why they are doing what they are doing with social media, then it just stays hype to those brands.

Visit Maddie Grant's blog
Maddie Grant
There will always be hype about the latest shiny tools. If we always bear in mind that social media is not about the tools, but about relationships and sharing the love (word of mouth), then we'll stay grounded and be able to provide business value using any tool.

Visit Lisa Whelan's blog
Lisa Whelan
Socialize Mobilize
Socialize Mobilize Blog
The most effective way of separating hype from reality is to test and measure the effectiveness of social media marketing channels and campaigns over time. Set a "base goal" and a "stretch goal" for your social media marketing efforts in the short term (weekly/ monthly), medium term (every 6 months), *and* long term (1 year and beyond). Make sure your social media goals are aligned with your overall marketing goals as well as the performance & bonus plans of every employee involved in social media marketing. Fine tune your strategy to meet your goals. Experiment with social media campaigns, trying new things, especially if you're not seeing the positive results you were expecting.

Visit Josh Peters's blog
Josh Peters
Shua Marketing and Consulting
Reality is based on case studies and what X company has done. Look at what has been achieved and what's being done. That being said don't be too scared to reach for the stars and try your best to do something truly remarkable. Hype is a dangerous thing when it causes us to put too much weight on one single thing, however it's also a very important thing to get us excited about using something new. Best advice would be to take everything with a grain of salt until it's been proven, but never ever be afraid to be the one who proves it.

Visit Alexandra Samuel's blog
Alexandra Samuel
Social Signal
Alexandra Samuel
It's useful to compare the social media boom with the first dot com boom in the late 90s. That bubble was very much driven by market valuations which (as we now know) turned out to be hyperinflated; the same will almost inevitably happen to a bunch of social media sites. But the key difference is that on many social media sites, the accumulated value lies not in the company-owned software, but in the community-owned content: if and when a bust comes (in hype and/or valuations) many of these communities will morph and endure, possibly in less glossy form, because the underlying relationships, common interests and content are driven by highly committed community members.

Visit Ryan Peal's blog
Ryan Peal
Momentum Worldwide
Ideas, Imagination & Stuff (a.k.a. Ryan's View)
Really through the discussion above - the more that can be done to measure impact and engagement the more the reality of social media will be better understood and become less hype and more reality. CEOs (and CFOs for that matter) can't argue with real stats, real numbers, real needle moving that is possible with social media included in the overall marketing mix.

Visit Donna Maria's blog
Donna Maria
Indie Business Media
The Media Is You
Hype and reality vary from situation to situation. That's why you have to know who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. Here's a 6-step process for doing this. First, know what type of persons you are trying to reach and exactly what you want to share with them. Second, find out where those people are. Third, join them where they are comfortable. Fourth, listen to them. Fifth, interact with them. Sixth, make yourself available to serve them. This 6-step process of focusing your efforts will help you stay on track and concentrate on what works for you, and not all of the hype people throw at you all the time.

Visit Jake Hird's blog
Jake Hird
I think social media will continue to mature and develop through 2010 and in doing so, we'll see a the hype begin to separate itself from reality - especially on a practitioner level - as we've previously seen in other areas of the digital marketing industry such as SEO or PPC. Those who genuinely understand, engage and deliver within social media will shine, whereas the "snake-oil salesmen" will increasingly be exposed.

Visit Kirsti Scott's blog
Kirsti Scott
Scott Design Inc
Hot Design Blog
The most important thing to remember is not the tool you use to spread your message, but that your message is consistent across all media. Not exactly identical, as each medium has a slightly different audience, but well-crafted and targeted.

Visit Joel Postman's blog
Joel Postman
There has been too much social media stunt marketing. Quick, flashy campaigns attract attention and make a name for both the company and its agency, but these don't drive much real business value.

Visit Mitch Joel's blog
Mitch Joel
Twist Image
Six Pixels of Separation
By focusing less on what the individuals are doing to promote themselves and more on how those individuals are able to help others (brands, individuals, etc…) use these channels to truly connect, share and build relationships.

Visit Danny Flamberg's blog
Danny Flamberg
Juice Pharma Worldwide
Manhattan Marketing Maven
Experimentation, skepticism and common sense. Evangelists and advocates outnumber real operational marketers by 20:1. Real case studies and hard data are not readily available, even in trade circles. Lots of those promoting social media do NOT have P/L responsibility for brands or sales and are not directly engaged with online clients day-to-day, so lots of logical, but not practical ideas, are bandied about. There is also a lot of trivia and insignificant content in social that few want to discuss. Watch the credible early adapters. That's what the big brands and the big media spenders are doing. Ignore the scores of self-proclaimed social media gurus, yours truly included.

Visit Ian Lurie's blog
Ian Lurie
Portent Interactive
Conversation Marketing
Anyone who says they can now precisely track Social Media ROI is full of manure. so is anyone who says they can generate fast results. The reality is that social media rocks, not because of ROI or speed to results, but because, with persistence and intelligence, success is inevitable.

Visit Sharlyn Lauby's blog
Sharlyn Lauby
ITM Group, Inc.
HR Bartender
Hype will always exist in some form or fashion. People need to take time to build relationships, even online ones. Being able to connect in person with people you’ve met online (via conferences and meetups) will also enhance the value of relationships.

Visit Linda Bustos's blog
Linda Bustos
Elastic Path Software
Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog
We need to accept the fact that social networking is primarily a non-commercial activity. People have low tolerance for spam, and spam has a negative impact on your brand. It can be worse than doing nothing at all. Before you jump on the bandwagon because Dell drove $3Million in sales through Twitter or Victoria's Secret's Facebook page has 500,000 fans, consider the reality. Dell is a billion dollar company - $3Million is a drop in the bucket. Victoria's Secret is a household name that appeals not only to its female consumers but is also wildly popular with males. Few brands are at that level, and few can expect that kind of traction in social networks.

Visit Cameron Chapman's blog
Cameron Chapman
Cameron Chapman on Writing
It's all hype. The way people respond to the hype is what makes some of it reality and some of it wither away.

Visit Jacob Morgan's blog
Jacob Morgan
Chess Media Group
Social Media Globetrotter
Look at results and the things that have been done. I don't think there is that much hype around social media, I just think that there are too many people that are claiming to be "consultants" or "experts" that have no business being in the space. It's one thing to educate people on how to use a tool or a platform, it's quite another to be able to develop a strategy behind it. One of these people is a trainer, the other is a consultant. Let's not mix up the two. The people that know what they are doing already exist, they are out there doing this. Instead of trying to create more consultants we need to worry about finding the one's that already exist.

Visit Jim Gianoglio's blog
Jim Gianoglio
If something new comes along, figure out if/how it can help you achieve your goals. Does Twitter help you achieve your goal? I t doesn't for everyone, and for them, it's just hype. For others, it's a very integral part of their strategies and does help them achieve their goals, hence, it's a reality for them. I guess it just depends on what your goals are.

Visit Ann Handley's blog
Ann Handley
MarketingProfs Daily Fix
Again, it's all about setting your strategy and identifying your objectives in the social space (or anywhere in your marketing, really). When you start there, you don't tend to get blinded by the newness or freshness or hipness of the bright and shiny tools (which goes a long way toward separating the hype from the reality).

Visit Larry Brauner's blog
Larry Brauner
Larry Brauner
Online Social Networking
An emphasis on targeting, reaching and engaging your audience is probably more real than emphasizing the use of trendy tools, projected website visits or expected return on investment.

Visit John Haydon 's blog
John Haydon
Inbound Zombie, Inc.
Social media marketing strategy for non-profits
Results separate hype from reality.

Visit Ravit Lichtenberg's blog
Ravit Lichtenberg
Measurements, measurements, measurements. If it can't be measured--it's hype. If it can, it's real.

Visit Mike Volpe's blog
Mike Volpe
Inbound Marketing Blog
I measure sales and things that lead to sales. If you are measuring real metrics that impact your business, you'll never get lost in the hype.

Visit Greg Finn's blog
Greg Finn
If it makes you money and helps you gain mindshare it is reality.

Visit Janet Fouts's blog
Janet Fouts
Tatu Digital Media
Tatu Digital Media
By showing how it works in real world situations with case studies and live demos.

Visit Paul Dunay's blog
Paul Dunay
Buzz Marketing For Technology
To a certain extent - social media has been over hyped in 2009 - I think that will cool down a bit next year as marketers and companies begin to realize the benefits of social media.

Visit Mirna Bard's blog
Mirna Bard
Personal Blog
FTC released regulations in 2009 and I see much more of that in 2010. The release of the new rules on disclosure from the FTC. This will help trustworthy and ethical social-marketers and will help to eliminate the unethical marketers who are out to trick and scam people. This is definitely something to look forward to in order to separate the all the hype from reality.

Visit Susan Payton's blog
Susan Payton
Egg Marketing & Public Relations
The Marketing Eggspert Blog
A million Twitter followers does not equal a million sales. Understand that conversion will come from a very small percentage of your social media contacts.

Visit Corvida Raven's blog
Corvida Raven
SheGeeks Blog
Hype is that tingling feeling you get when you first start using something new. Reality is when the "newness" wears off and you find yourself not getting the results you want.

Visit Kevin Gibbons's blog
Kevin Gibbons
Proven results will continue to demonstrate the true worth of social media to different types of businesses. Part of the energy and buzz surrounding the use of social media is the very fact that it's constantly changing - so keep a watch on all new trends and developments and test them out as appropriate. Only after trying them out do we recommend new tactics and tools to clients. It's about selecting the best social media 'tool' for the job that will achieve results, rather than going after everything new, however hyped.

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