The final part of the Starting Conversations chapter in my upcoming book on Social Media is all about attention: how to grab it, and how to hold it long in enough to activate your audiences.
Everybody wants attention: individuals, organisations, and companies alike. Attention for ideas, products/services, or commentary.
In “Trust Agents”, Chris Brogan talks about attention as currency, and also about the idea that there are multiple types of currency: "Attention is and will continue to be our scarcest resource."
The most classic tactic to grab attention is by running an advertising campaign. Some of these would do anything to stand out in the crowd, by using pop-ups, take-overs, stunts and hoaxes, and even by spamming. But no matter how loud these campaigns try to interrupt people during whatever they were doing: interruption marketing is dying. Or as Hugh MacLeod once put it: Advertising is the cost of being boring. People no longer just sit back and wait for things to be delivered. They go and seek things out.
Another, less “interruptive” way of getting attention is by setting out content bait (blog post, site content or an application) to have people link to you. Two easy examples of linkbait are lists and infographs. For some reason we all are drawn to numbered lists. To name but a few, fresh generated with the Linkbait Generator tool:
- “10 reasons you'd want to be stuck in an elevator with Sarah Palin”
“8 reasons to fear Avatar”
“10 ways people have gotten rich exploiting pop culture”
As you can see, mentioning famous companies (e.g., Google) or famous people (e.g. Sarah Palin) somehow always makes people “bite” faster.
Infograph is short of “information graphics” - graphic visual but often strikingly representations of complex information, data or knowledge. An early but brilliant example of modern-day infographs is the music video Norwegian band Röyksopp had made in 2020 for their song Remind Me. It features a day in the life of a woman working in the London's Square Mile solely through infographs; this includes labelled close-ups of everyday objects, product lifecycles, schematic diagrams, charts, and is generally illustrated in a simple isometric visual style.
In a recent a study analyzing over 14,000 posts on the corporate Facebook Fan pages of the world’s 100 most valuable brands, Beyond digital consultancy found that only 5% of all comments were negative.
From their blog post The Facebook Four: What A Fan Wants:
While there is always the ability to monitor and delete this kinds of responses, sometimes the better response is a public one. If you find a complaint, address it, and if you can, direct an extended conversation in private, away from the main page.
From their whitepaper Beyond Brand Interaction Study:
When people do complain about brands, they report doing so through private rather than public channels:
- Email (80%)
- Phone (54%)
- Letter (28%)
- Website Form (20%)
- Facebook (5%)
- Fax (4%)
- Twitter (3%)
- Instant Messenger (2%)
- SMS (1%)
- Youtube (1%)
In my upcoming book on social media for businesses, I sum up what people usually complain about:
- Inferior products
- Inept or indifferent customer service
- Corporate lies, lack of accountability and transparency
- Overblown advertising
To conclude: the fact-filled YouTube video summarizing Beyond's research.
From The Biggest Brands on Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC] @ Mashable.com:
- the average age of a brand "Liker" is 31
- 17% of brand "Likers" are unemployed (and are not students)
- 20% of brand "Likers" are students
- 75% of brands' Facebook "Likes" come from ads
- 139 brands have more than 1 million "Likes"
The Premier Business Leadership Series in Las Vegas in November 2010 hosted a panel discussion around the business value behind social media.
Panel host Martin Giles, US Technology Correspondent, The Economist:
For many organisations, the world of social media is both an exiting and terryfying prospect. It's exiting, because it enables you to have conversations with your customers in ways that simply were impossible five, ten years ago. But it's also terrifying, because with one tweet, or one post on Facebook, a disgruntled customer can spark an online tsunami of protest that quickly spreads across the world. [...]
All of this raises lots of questions:
How should you build a social media presence?
Who should own it?
How can you measure and analyse the value that you're getting from your social media activities?
In this panel:
- Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs and author of Social Media 101.
- Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group and coauthor of the cricitally acclaimed, bestselling book Groundswell.
- David Meerman Scott, Marketing strategist and author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR.
In a 27-page report Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist: Be Proactive or Become Social Media Help Desk, web strategist Jeremiah Owyang explores the two possible career paths for the social media decision maker in a company (he calls them Social Strategists, but you might just as well think of them as Conversation Managers).
- Most Social Strategists and their programs lack maturity, with only 23% of Social Strategists having a formalized program with long-term direction.
- They are overwhelmed with six major challenges – with little relief in sight:
- Resistance from internal culture,
- Measuring ROI,
- Lack of resources,
- An ever-changing technology space,
- Resentment and envy of the role,
- A looming increase in business demands.
With demands just about to increase, they have two possible career paths:
- Fall behind in requests from vocal customers and internal business units, thereby becoming reactive which we call the “Social Media Help Desk”, or
- Develop a proactive program that gets ahead of the demands, and operate from a strategic planning position.