Leave town for a week or two and you're likely to miss several new developments in the ever-evolving social Web. That was the message from Inc. GrowCo speaker Howard Tullman, who's president and CEO of Chicago's Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy.
In a wide-ranging talk evaluating the future of social marketing, Tullman touched on how Facebook is like a marketing "sniper," how to find influencers, and why Walmart has 8,500 Facebook pages. Here are four key takeaways:
You have to be who you are.
This, says Tullman, is the single biggest change brought about by the Facebook revolution--a universe where you can turn up photos of what your friends looked like 15 years ago. It’s no longer true that on the Internet, you can be anyone. Your friends and customers will figure you out and pull back the curtain. "Once your authenticity is gone, you’re pretty much over," Tullman says.
You have to know before they know.
Many online marketers focus their energies--and their spend--on optimizing for Google. That’s a mistake, Tullman says. While Google’s algorithm is set up to make predictions based on past user behavior, Facebook actually has the answers you’re looking for: who your customers are, who their friends are, what they’re interested in talking about and buying. Walmart has 8,500 Facebook pages--one for each of its stores--because the company understands that commerce is local, and their customers want to connect locally.
When it comes to social media, "These are not trivial and dismissable conversations by kids." Tullman says. "They are substantive conversations among customers, clients, and employees.
"Google is like a rear-view mirror," Tullman says, and "Facebook is like a sniper scope."
We’re moving from badges and bullshit to curation.
Increasingly, the Web is breaking its vast communities into chunks--niches where like-minded people can talk about issues that are relevant to them. That marks a new philosophy for marketers who are used to thinking of celebrities and other generic influencers as the holy grail. "Rather than giving 100 random celebrities a goody bag," Tullman says, "you can find the people who actually influence decisions" in your particular target market.
If you haven’t adopted video, it’s time.
Video is exploding everywhere. Microsoft is integrating Skype into Outlook, and that’s only the beginning. You don’t have to be an expert to record video, and a 15-second video can be much more compelling than a piece of text. So get to it.