The New Borg
The New Borg carry handbags and wear perfume. They shop after dropping the kids off at soccer practice, or in front of their computer, after the kids are in bed. Their weapon is the click of a mouse, their power is exponential – each one of them is connected to hundreds of others, who are connected to hundreds of others, and on and on, to infinity. There is nothing cybernetic about them, but they control your whole world with their fingertips; your business success, your product development, even what kind of car you drive. They watch what you do, what you say, and how you treat their friends. And they gather in flocks to talk about you – day after day. Beware the New Borg!
They are women and men who blog, who Twitter, who use Facebook and who know their way around the Internet.
There is only one answer to winning the battle with the New Borg. Accept that resistance is futile. Open the door and be assimilated.
It’s not as hard or as scary as it sounds. A recent report by One Up Web, showed that in 2008, 94.1 million blog readers and 55 million users on Facebook were creating “earned content” (content not bought like traditional advertising) and attracting the major search engines in a big way. One Up Web noted that is it no longer enough to optimize your website – now you must optimize “your online presence.” Search has been assimilated by the New Borg!
It’s the New Borg and user-generated content that makes the ultimate decision on who you are. And Google listens!
Customer Engagement: SOP in a Web 2.0 World
A report by Awareness Networks notes, “Adopting social media marketing tactics is no longer an option, but the standard. If you are not engaged, you are behind the curve.” Customer engagement as standard operation procedure? Holy, Star Trek! The New Borg rules!
This does not mean you should jump on the social media bandwagon with both feet, eyes closed in fear, as it careens down the bumpy path of authenticity and open, honest conversations. It means working with professionals who can teach you best practices, work with you to establish measurable ROI (yes, there is a measurable ROI to social media), and ultimately, guide you through that learning curve. Lesson One: You must be willing to talk with your customers, not at them. Take the time to learn how your customers are using social media tools. Engage them where they are, not where you’d like them to be.
Cheap and Free, it’s Not
In a February 2009 article for Businessweek Online, social media expert, BL Ochman debunked six media myths surrounding social media. Her #1 myth, “Social media is cheap, if not free” stands out as a prime misconception about social media (which is why it’s #1, of course!).
According to BL, the tools of engagement – the YouTubes, the Flickrs, the Nings, the Diggs and their like – offer free versions, indeed. But, to what end, one must ask? Her answer: “. . . integrating these tools into a corporate marketing program requires skill, time, and money. The budget for an effective social media marketing campaign begins at $50,000 for two to three months.”
That’s two to three months of work – not a week of throwing up a blog, followed by a week of showing off your VP of Sales singing “High Hopes” on YouTube. It’s dedicating time and resources – to learning how to approach and embrace the New Borg. If you attempt this on your own, they will know. And they will tell Google – to your detriment. How will they know? Oh, not because the final campaign will be polished enough to win an Oscar. The New Borg will know because. . . they are the New Borg.
It’s time to stop whining about the economy. The New Borg is all about the economy. They want to buy what you sell – just on their terms, not yours. Put yourself in their hands and watch your profits soar.
* * * * *
About the Author: Yvonne DiVita is the author of Dick*less Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online, a book about getting those baby boomer icons Dick and Jane to buy at your website. Follwing publcation of her book, she founded Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC. all about Books, Blogs and Beyond. Yvonne maintains a blog at LipSticking supporting her work in the women’s market online. Yvonne is the VP of Web Communications at the Rochester Chapter of the American Marketing Association. She is quoted throughout the net on marketing to women, blogging for business, and publishing.