How To: Recognize Social Content

Posted on May 11, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The King is Dead – Long Live the King

Content is King. That’s what “they” say. I disagree. The King is dead long live the King. Quality content then, that must be King, possibly a prince but still not a King. The real King in the world of content is Social Content. The easiest way to define “Social” content is as the confluence of organizational/brand driven content and user generated/consumer generated content. It resides at the point where ownership and authorship lines blur such that it is hard, if not impossible to see where one ends and the other begins.

At the Social Media Breakfast in Austin on Friday 8th May I was fortunate to be on a great panel with @lionelatDell and @natayanap both of whom are extremely smart thought leaders in the area of content. Below is the video excerpt of me explaining my definition of Social Content.

Letting Go to Gain Greater Control

This is all part of the movement within communications for brands to come to the realization that they do not own their brand, nor do they own the content that surrounds their brand, they share the same role as other content producers. By recognizing this and becoming a part of the community of content producers they can in fact regain some of the control that they so fear losing.

Some brands are already recognizing this and trying to make moves toward including a more social experience throughout their content. Right now most brands are focused on Social Media as a way of producing social content. Unfortunately simply having a page on Facebook, or a few hired hands on Twitter does not make for social content. Of course its definitely a step in the right direction and no one can reasonably expect brands to change over night.

What Does it Look Like?

So what does Social content really look like, what are the potentials, and why should brands really care?

Social content looks like a conversation, to market researchers it would probably look like the output of a well crafted focus group, the big difference is that the brand wouldn’t be setting the agenda, they would be just another participant. Offering pointers, advice and amplifying restrictions that are both internal & external so that the community can gain better understanding.

The potential for Social content is endless, I foresee brands being able to included customers and potential customers in the entire production process from ideation, design, testing and ultimately sales and marketing.  After all if you had helped design a product wouldn’t you talk about it?

Imagine a computer company that wants to produce a laptop that meets the needs of a group of users that it has identified as being a missed opportunity. Now instead of simply holding focus groups, and then designing some clever marketing collateral to help promote the product, what if the company was able to actually engage the audience in the design process, having the engineers work online in a collaborative environment with the intended users, helping them all gain from each other in the different ways the computer will be used.

Having assisted in the design and development, the sales and marketing team could then work with the same group of collaborators to design the promotional material that would help sell the product.

This is what Social content of the future could look like. Will all brands embrace this? Very unlikely, but for the few that do, they are likely to be the ones who set the stage for real content.

Video courtesy of @bryanperson

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