The Idea Dude

CONNECTING THE DOTS ONE AT A TIME

Sunday, September 30, 2007

So what's the point?

Tim Manners has an amazing article on socialized media. He was reporting on a survey of 500 marketers conducted by Reveries.com on the potential of social networks as a marketing medium. What popped for me was the comment. If you sell, you lose. Don't sell. As a marketer: network. Help people. Advise. Create value and add to the conversation. Wise words. We forget the roots of MySpace, Facebook, Classmates etc. They started off by creating specific value points like connecting bands with fans or reuniting old school friends. The selling came later.

We pulled advertising off TheGoodBlogs widget in its early days mainly because we were too small to get any significant revenue from ads, people have banner blindness when it comes to blogs and since we served the long tail, making micro-payments was an overhead we couldn't afford. Our value proposition remains the same today as when we first started. We don't claim to help you make lots of money or even drive lots of traffic to your blog. We simply do the following:

  • Through us and our members, we promote your blog wherever it makes sense, increasing your exposure.
  • We help bloggers and non-bloggers discover new blogs, because there are a great many bloggers in the long tail who are simply terrific and deserve to be heard.
  • We help bloggers connect to other bloggers, because every connection we help make is an opportunity given and taken.

That's all we claim to do and that probably won't change anytime soon. It's easy to stand on the soapbox and make wild promises to both bloggers and investors but that's not in our value system. We learning everyday and helping change the conversation, one blogger at a time. If we're not helping bloggers then we are not helping ourselves. Not adding value means no trust and no long-term loyalty.

Tim thinks, ...the real marketing potential of online social networks is listening, not talking. So we all got in a tizz about the Facebook walled garden. We forgot it is their asset to protect and even with those walls, marketers have a unique opportunity to build a brand and reach thousands if not millions of people within those walls at very little cost.

It's easy to be caught up with the hype of Web 2.0. The equation goes a) there is a $20 billion ad industry out there. b) you're smart and surely can take at least 1% of the market, c) so you'll go out and raise a couple million dollars, d) sell the company for $100 million dollars. The tragedy of it all is that it is a perceived business model, not a proven one and even though the money isn't yours, doesn't mean you should have a licence to burn through it without a conscience.

As Tim says, The medium is no longer the message, it is the promise. The question is can you keep it?

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