I wanted to share an article written by Joel Comm coming out of SalesForce’s Blog. This article truly serves as a primer for Spokeable and what we are trying to accomplish.
Over the next couple weeks I will be writing a series of blog posts that will shed light on the main problem most, if not all, local businesses face today, and how can we deliver a holistic solution through empathy and understanding.
If an Internet connection can be likened to the front door of a house, we can have fun getting metaphorical with the various rooms in the house. The home office is where work gets done. The kitchen is where thought leaders are cooking things up. And the bathroom is the wasteland of terrible web pages. As for the bedroom, well there’s an entire industry surrounding that as well.
So which room is the gathering place for discussion, engagement and interaction? Of course, it’s the living room. I would submit that social media resides in the place where we socialize with others. It’s where we gather, interact, communicate and network.
With millions of people getting social on their mobile devices, countless throngs of people are connected all hours of the day. But there is a massive elephant in the living room. Facebook knows it. Twitter knows it. Google + knows it. But few are talking about it. It’s time we recognize it because it’s not going away. The elephant is commerce. If there isn’t a sustainable model for generating revenue in the social space, it cannot survive and thrive.
Unless businesses can find a way to effectively engage with their customers on the social sites in a cost-effective manner, the elephant will end up crushing everyone in the living room. Once upon a time, MySpace proved that social media was a successful model for connecting people. But as well all know, MySpace was unable to monetize their audience and was soon decimated by other social networks.
How is it possible to have 1/7th of the world’s population on social sites and NOT turn a sizeable profit? Social sites and their mobile counterparts were designed for a massive userbase. But they were not built for businesses, brands and marketers to have a conversation with their fans. The social sites require the support and engagement of brands and businesses in order to survive. It’s where the money is. However, assuming the social platforms were created using the traditional “if we build it they will come” model, how does that model become commerce-friendly? It’s very challenging since the social sites weren’t created for businesses to use in the first place. Sure, Facebook and Twitter now accept advertisements, but this environment is begging for something new.
Facebook’s “boost this post” ultimately doesn’t bring the level of engagement that businesses and brands are truly seeking. The Edgerank algorithm has seen to that. Twitter is attempting to lure businesses to invest in promoted tweets. The results to date are not earth-shaking. I’ve no doubt that the gorillas of social media will continue to seek out monetization methods. But with platforms that were never designed for monetization, I submit that the opportunity for a newcomer to seize a massive user base from under them is greater than ever before.
When a social site asks the right question and designs a platform built around the answer, users and businesses will flock to it like never before. The answer will address a solution that successfully integrates social, mobile and commerce as a unifying theme. Consumers will be able to engage with the brands they enjoy, and the brands will have full reach and ability to reciprocate without barriers.
A new platform design with a prime directive to be FOR social, FOR mobile and FOR marketing will kick the elephant out of the living room and be a more rewarding experiencing for consumers and brands alike.
My crystal ball is a little fuzzy, but I believe it’s coming soon. The front door is open and the elephant has been asked to leave. Let’s see if someone has the brilliance and courage to escort it out.
-Joel Comm, SalesForce’s Blog