Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Help! The sky is falling ...

Just as we set out on this irregular journey through Social Media, the landscape seems to be littered with SM proposals that didn't survive the last budget cut or that are waiting for the financial meltdown to fizzle out. I understand how those decisions were made, and why they were made.

Point is, I don't agree with some of them. Apart from dumping the “hey we need an SM thing” no-brain-cells-damaged-in-this-decision orders from the C-Suite, they’re mostly dumb decisions. Jeremiah Owyang said in a presentation here in Tokyo recently that (1) he expects social media consumption numbers to go up during the downturn, and (2) that community and networks become more important when people are under stress.

If anything, this is the time for smart companies to be out there engaging with their customers. I appreciate people being there during the tough times, and I'm sure most of you do too. Provided they're not in my face. Provided they're being honest. And provided they're prepared to listen. I don’t need the cavalry, but I’d love to see my bank looking human.

I also think that pricing on social media builds and campaigns is going to get pretty compelling. Sure, there’s still some latest-brightest-trinket mentality but the initial fever is over. When the big guys are warning us that online advertising may suffer a temporary hit, my bet is the people who sell that real estate will get moving on filling it. Less money is better than no money, after all.

And more compelling – I see talent coming onto the market. Talent that otherwise would strain at a Fortune 50 client brief, or work themselves to death at a start-up. Bright people, with great ideas that let companies with a little courage get the jump on their more timorous competitors.

Thought for Today: This may be a good time to tell your customers you care via a social media play. ‘Cause when the good times return, they’ll remember.

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