I remember reading a while back that 5 out of 6 people are classified as “casual” users of the internet. Chances are if you’re reading this blog, you’re one of the 1 in 6 who are “in the know” about social media.
As a result, you’re probably seen as the “social media expert” in your circles. When someone asks you about blogging or social media, you may be more than willing to share your passion for “blogging” and it’s role in social media.
If you’re having a face to face conversation – there may be some point where watch the listener’s eyes glaze over and their mind “check out” as you try to describe the intricacies and complexities that make up this ever changing thing we call “social media”.
This is a common problem – not only when it comes to describing social media but when it comes to trying to describe exactly anything that isn’t currently “mainstream”. Believe it or not, before it became “mainstream”, there was a time when you had to explain why Google was better than Yahoo for search.
Several conversations offline recently have me trying to come up with a quick and easy explanation of what social media is and why it matters.
Social Media is Simply Communication on Steroids
Social media is simply communication – bigger, faster and stronger than ever before.
Trying to communicate the unusual and unique is not new to me because I am the proud owner of a Field Spaniel. Unless you live in the UK, you probably don’t know what a Field Spaniel is. In describing what a Field Spaniel is, I could share what it’s like to share your home with one of these quirky and “very vocal” dogs. I could regale you with an in depth explanation of how early breeders wanted to create a “better” spaniel. I could also tell you how the breed was created in England in the early 20th Century by crossing Basset Hounds with Cocker Spaniels.
Chances are that you probably don’t care to know all that. That’s why when people ask, I tell them that a Field Spaniel is a Cocker Spaniel on steroids. People know what a Cocker Spaniel is and they also know what steroids do to an athlete. The result is a fairly accurate and strong word picture. This does a MUCH better job of conveying what a Field Spaniel looks like and doesn’t give the the listener a chance to “check out” during the explanation.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the word picture is as strong in the case of describing social media. I think part of the reason it “falls down” is many business owners don’t recognize that the main “component” of marketing is communication. Without that understanding – an essential element of the word picture is lost.
If social media is going to go mainstream, we need an quick, easy explanation of what social media is and why it matters.
The Blog Herald announced yesterday the new b5Media has been revealed. The 32 individual health and beauty blogs are being “re-packaged” as a single site known as Splendicity, taking the relatively unfamiliar concept of “a blog network” and creating an easy to understand “word picture” of a single site.
Instead of trying to explain to advertising agencies how the b5media network offers advertisers a specific demographic audience scattered across 32 different blogs… b5media can now say – “Splendicity offers this many eyeballs who are part of this target audience.”
It’s a quick, easy explanation of the b5Media product “formerly known as loose collection of 32 health and heauty blogs.” It’s a “rebranding” which allows you to easily tell someone who isn’t in the know what Splendicity is and most importantly – why advertisers should care.
Ad agencies no longer have to explain to their clients the intricacies of a blog network. Instead they can say, “Splendicity has the attention of the very people we want to reach with your marketing message and THAT is why we’re buying space there.”
What’s the simple, easy to explain word picture illustrating why social media is important?
While most of the Blog Herald readers nod knowingly as they read the post- there’s still a whole WORLD of people out there who still don’t know the difference between a blog and a website. Many of these people are business owners willing to invest their hard earned money to place their marketing message in front of their target audience.
They just need to know WHY a blog is such a great place for that ad.
Social media is defining the direction of communication from national news to the latest viral video – but the average person don’t recognize the impact blogs and social media are having on our culture.
They won’t know until we come up with an easy to understand word picture. Once we have educated “the 5 out of 6 casual internet users” why social media is important – then the rest will be easy.
The magic sauce in social media is that it allows publishers to influence audiences more deeply. Social media, in the right hands, is an important part of engaging your audience instead of talking at them.
Until we come up with a simple, powerful word picture which communicates this essential truth about social media- the rest of the world still won’t get what the fuss over “social media” is all about.
With this in mind, how do YOU explain this whole intricate and complex entity known as “social media” to your friends, family and colleagues? What word pictures do you use to communicate the intricacies of social media to the 5 out of 6 casual internet users?