Marketers, Think You've Mastered Social? Think Again.

Gretchen Fox

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With key players in the industry talking about the death of "social business," due to a lack of buy-in from the C-Suite, I keep thinking, what? We are still at the very tip of the iceberg. And while Chris Heuer makes very good, well-thought out arguments as to why the buy-in isn't happening, the reality is that anyone who isn't buying-in and thinks his or her company has social already sorted out isn't seeing the full potential. Let me point out just a handful of ways that we're not anywhere close to "there" yet - and I mean, not even the power players.

This is the reality:

1. Social interactions lack depth. I put forth this idea: Businesses can have as equal of an impact on a person as any other social relationship. While most businesses are focused on selling, and sometimes, they even focus on providing value (see AMEX OPEN Forum Case Study) there are still many more levels this relationship can be explored. For example, does your company's Community Manager know exactly how many times each person he interacts with on Twitter has previously interfaced with the brand? If he or she buys products or is a brand advocate? Do all employees of the company use it towards the betterment of the organization? Are these efforts deepening relationships with all stakeholders? No? I didn't think so. It's ok, we're all still communicating with too many radio broadcasts and addressing issues one impersonal DM at a time. We haven't scratched through to the next level - but the point is, there are more levels.

2. Content is partial. Let's look at the best case: Red Bull. They are phenomenal at creating great and unique pieces of content like Red Bull Stratos or any number of their action sport pieces. But, if I ran Red Bull (Media House), I would reorganize the entire web around content. Ambitious? Yes. Possible? Maybe. Interesting? Incredibly. Let me explain. Imagine if you were watching the BMX video from above and you had a way to dive into every piece of the content as a sort of link-to-link rabbit hole experience, similar to how you learn on Wikipedia. You could explore the history of the sport or learn more about the rider, the location or browse similar locations via an interactive map, learn about the equipment used and compare similar equipment, get insights into the behind-the-scenes or even see the brainstorm were the idea for the shoot was first generated. You could create a whole world around each piece of original content - and a never-ending path of page views - all with a social layer of data and interactive features.

3. ADVERTISING

4. inRead invented by Teads

5. Online and offline experiences are disconnected. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this topic starting in 2006 at MediaZone, a start-up in Silicon Valley where we launched and tested different Social TV products for sports events including ING NYC Marathon, Rugby World Cup, and IndyCar Race Control. Since then I have imagined many ways concerts and other major events like awards shows could bridge these experiences. The most innovation on this front is the work Shazam is doing to drive television and radio audiences to engage in mobile experiences (and purchases) and the partnership between LionShare Media to figure out how to bring clients next level experiences leveraging AR technology. Let me just say, you haven't seen anything yet. Get ready to be able to mash-up game play, social data and virtual experiences - all visualized in your physical space. These elements create a matrix of endless opportunities. People thrive on new experiences and AR has the ability to create fantastical experiences never before imagined. Talk about a place for brands to play - and make an impact.

So, please, stop trying to skip to the end of the story - dig in! We're still at the beginning and there are so many more levels to go before its time to move onto the "next big thing."

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