The future for brands on the Social Web. Response to @briansolis

Brian Solis, @briansolis, has an excellent post on The Future of the Social Web which inspired me to make some comments focusing on the implications and opportunities for brands.

"The biggest opportunity for the expansion of social networks is to build bridges between these isolated islands (social networking sites) to deliver a more fulfilling, meaningful and productive experience. As I see it, we will start to see the social web not as a collection of distributed islands, but as one greater collective better known as a human network – a contextual and relationship-based network that consists of like-minded individuals no matter where their profile resides." 

Context is key, and as is for now technology/the existing solutions is limiting our ability to strengthen or build new relationships. People do what other people do and people are also continuously seeking resonance. Enter the social colonization and most of all the era of social context.

As of now Facebook and Twitter is already our main source for news and information. They are also our main communication hub. As a brand you need to become a part of this flow of information. You have the chance of becoming more relevant than ever. 

How? First of all you need to have a big ideal. Then create initiatives based on the ideal, tool or content, that helps groups of people with common niche passions to continuously strengthening their relationships or build new ones across different niche networking sites - seamlessly as possible. It´s not what your product does that matters most to people. It´s how they SOCIALIZE AROUND IT that matters. Facebook Connect  and to some degree "sign in with Twitter" allows you as brand to become a part of this information flow. But you need to contribute with something that empowers those who create these information flows - people. And what´s coming is the possibility to join a new service that you as brand can make, where people can join and bring with them their data and friends so that you can serve your users instantly with customized content and already recommendations, history, stats from your existing network. Now that´s relevance and gratification on a whole new level. 

"Portable IDs mean you’ll be able to flip a switch to tell Nike you’re a woman who runs 12 miles a week and immediately see the shoes that are best for you — along with input from experiences of your running buddies.” 

Brian Solis - The Future of the Social Web.

Evolution of Social Network sites

Excerpts from a great post w/links over at


1979 Usernets
Late seventies BBSs
1980 Onlineservices like CompuServe & Prodigy
1985 Genie
1988 IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
1995 ICQ


1997 Six Degrees. Purchased in 2000 for $125 million and shut down in 2001.
1999 LiveJournal.
2000 World Of Warcraft / MMORPGS
2002 Friendster. 90 million registered users, 90% users from asia. Popular with gay men, attendess of Burning Man and bloggers
2003 Hi5. 60 Million active members. Asia. Latin America and Central Africa.
2003 LinkedIn.
2003 MySpace. Customization possible.
2004 Multiply.
2004 Orkut. Google´s social network. 65 million users, mainly from Brazil and India.
2004 Facebook. Surpassed MySpace in 2008.
2007 iRovr. Only on iPhone.
2008 Kontain.


2005 Ning. Platform for creating niche social networks. 1.5 million existing networks. No coding or programming knowledge required.


2003 Photobucket. Purchased by Fox in 2007 for $250 million
2004 Flickr. 3.6 billion images as of June 2009
2004 Revver. Sharing revenue 50/50 split with video creators.
2005 Youtube.


2003 Delicious.
2004 Digg.
2005 Reddit.


2006 Twitter
2007 Tumblr.
2009 Posterous. No initial signup is needed. Post content via email.


2006 Ustream
2006 41 million unique vistitors each month.
2007 Friendfeed. Purchased by Facebook 2009.

The next great Social Network?

I like Google´s services and although I´ve mentioned earlier that there really is a battle between data vs humans going on, Google vs Facebook with all it´s implications for people, society and marketeers - I´ve always believed Google would try to go social something that´s been pretty obvious so no kudos to me for that...  As I´m an avid user of services like Google Reader, Shared Items, Youtube, Gmail, Wave - yes I do use wave - it´s a great collaborative tool although still in it´s early stages (and probably is going to be emulated or taken by other companies), still the main question for mainstream adoption is as Steve Rubel points out;

"However, here's the big question - will consumers set up their Google profiles? And, if they do, will they link them to their social networks? If they are tech adept, yes, they will. But what about the rest of us? I am not so sure. This has to get as easy and as elegant to use as Facebook."

Google is way behind on this issue. There seems to be a knowledge gap that Google is not aware of. So although they launched Google Social Search which is awesome, for people, there seems to be a lack of understanding of contexts. Facebook Connect is a brilliant move from Facebook and enables a more rich communication at the moment. It allows for awesomeness for creators and participants. It allows for people to keep keep connected and inspired and meet new people within a relevant context. However Facebook is still much like a walled garden whereas Google is more diversified.

The question Google should understand people are asking themselves is not "What´s in it for me?" but "What´s in it for my group?"

Steve Ruble post.

Facebook accounts for 1 in 4 internet pageviews

Facebook accounts for 25% of U.S. online pageviews.

It´s going social. 

It´s a match between data and people. Google and Facebook. 

Who do you think marketing people is supporting? What´s your thoughts?

Mobile social networking up 187% since July 2008 accorning to Nielsen...

The biggest mistakes companies make...

The biggest mistakes companies make, he says, are implementing a tool-based, as opposed to people-based, strategy and simply choosing the best-known communities."

Anyone else get a familiar feeling reading this quote from Matt Rhodes? Seems that some companies just don´t want to get it. Replicating without remixing is adding more shit in more places. It´s so wrong in so many ways. Yes, you can work out a strategy and launch fast. You should do it fast. Speed wins. But you need to have a strategy in place. You need an ideal! Way too much focus on tactics these days. 

Brand leaders as curators

BBH Labs has an interesting article about what Adaptive Brand Marketing is all about citing Forrester´s new report on the challenges facing clients "Adaptive Brand Marketing: Rethinking your approach to branding in he digital age"

I especially would like to emphasis one of their starters;

"Brand leaders as curators"

As mentioned in my earlier post Stop spending - Start investing there´s a tremendous opportunity for brands right now. Today brands have the chance of becoming more relevant than ever. And the curator role is a necessity enabling a leadership position in a marketplace that is becoming more and more socialized.  People want and need brands. Those brands that focus on creating relationships and helping customers to get more out of the products and services they own. 

Great thoughts about connections planning from @jasonoke & @garethk #planningness

I would highly recommend you to view this deck about connections planning. What I especially find refreshing is that Jason & Gareth tells it like it is: 

"We use it to turn everything into a medium."

"We use it to find new places to interrupt people."

"We create fake 'movements' for things people don´t care about."

"We create utility that isn´t useful to anyone."

> "Basically, we put more shit in more places."

And they conclude with: 

"The irony is connections planning doesn´t create very many connections."

It´s all about group dynamics and not the self-interested individual. We need to DO something 365 days a year continuously creating better value exchanges than your competitors. For that to happen, as Jason & Garth says; "We need to focus on 365 day planning and not 360 degree." 

<div style="width:425px;text-align:left" id="__ss_2270155">Connections Planningness <div style="font-size:11px;font-family:tahoma,arial;height:26px;padding-top:2px;">View more documents from Jason Oke.</div></div>

Julian Cole: The "R" in Social Meida Revolution stands for rubbish.

Juilan Cole, the youngster from tells it like it is. 

I so agree with him in regards to; 

"What is needed is more people sharing stories about first hand experience on how they overcame barriers (money/legal/administration) and how they integrated social media into their current digital/advertising model."

And he goes on;

"Revolutionary Social Media spruikers are good for one thing, they help to get people who know nothing about social media excited about the possibility of the technology. However, once this excitement dies down, there needs to be information on what people can actually do."

My guess is that Julian actually is disappointed that there is no revolution but instead an evolution going on. And although there is a fundamental shift in the market, as it is becoming more and more socialized, he would like to see it happening sooner. It´s happening Julian. Make no mistake. There´s already blood running in the streets. 

My encounter with Radian6

As some of you know I am researching different social media monitoring tools and Radian6 is one of them.  My conclusion: I am impressed and disappointed.

What am I impressed about. Well, after commenting on Social Media Monitoring tools on Twitter and sending one request to them trough their website with the text...

"Are you able to set up fully functional search for brands on the norwegian market only?" took only one day before I got all the information needed included a live virtual demo. Also @daviddalston the VP Marketing and Community of Radian6 found and added me on Twitter. Excellent service and not at least an impressive follow-up rate in regards to time. Pros!

The dashboard is slick as hell, and they have some cool features like vote counts, images and also able to include forums that you need to log into to be able to participate. I also loved the influencers equalizer tool. Thanks Patti for excellent walk through. 

What I am disappointed about is that I was told in the reply to my first mail (quoted above)...

 "Yes this is possible however you would have to manually enter the brand names as your keywords.  We can also limit the search to Norway and limit language results to Norwegian as well."

This turned out to be a no go when I was given the demo. The system was not able to find any results written in norwegian. So basically I am not able to give any answers in regards to how well the system actually work. To analyze any of the results and so on. So although I got a very good impression of the system - I would love to explore some of the features shown - I cannot give any conclusion about it. Neither am I willing to take the risk to pay 100$ a month for licensing and minimum 500$ a month ( for mentions within 10.000 a month for a year)  - which would be necessary for them to include norwegian in their system - without knowing 100% for sure that it would be worth the price. 

If they include Norwegian as language in the near future, I would definitively try it out.