The Mountaintop Insights, Inspiration and Perspective for Enlightened Marketers

March 15, 2010

Focus on the Social Approach, Not the Social Medium

One of the things I have been preaching about for the past while is not to focus on the medium, but on the approach in Social Media Environments. I have taken to calling this the Social Experience.

What is Social Experience Design?

Much the same as Customer Experience Design, it is the design of an experience that is specific to being social with your customers in online environments. While it is similar to customer experience which covers much of the enterprise (from marketing to sale to customer service) it is also very unique.

Why? Because Online Social Environments are so unique and very unlike what the majority of companies have experienced before.

How is Social Experience Unique?

Here’s a short list I’ve been working on:

  • It is a 2way conversation – Since when did we want our customers to do anything but listen to us???
  • It is personal ranging from 1-1 conversations to 1-many/many-1
  • It is shared control with your customer or prospect and this makes every Enterprise with control issues very, very uncomfortable.
  • It is about them, not about you. This is the killer, especially in B2B, where we are so used to talking about ourselves and nothing else.


The Value of Social Experience Design in the Enterprise.

So if you are able to craft an approach that delivers a positive social experience, you should be able to apply this to ANY social media environment from the big public wastelands like Twitter and Facebook to private customer environments and everything in between.

If your approach is wrong and the experience is indifferent or negative, it won’t matter where you go, you will fail.

The Medium is Going to Evolve

Betting on the medium right now carries a lot of risk for many reasons. Think back to other media that have died, but seemed great at the time such as VHS, CD/DVD, and desktop computers just to name a few.

To put it in the perspective of online media declines, I’ve captured some specifics below:

  • Some Social Media channels are already showing signs of decline such as My Space. When the celebrities and self proclaimed gurus leave Twitter for the next big thing, Twitter will decline rapidly too.
  • Mobile culture is going to be one of the biggest driving forces for change in the next few years, especially in B2B. According to IDC, the shift to mobile is immense and in the immediate with nearly 1 billion mobile workers accessing enterprise systems this year.
  • For B2B and B2C alike, innovations like augmented reality are going to begin to draw more people to the mobile realm. So how long do laptops and traditional websites really have?


One thing is clear, the media we use to communicate with our customers (and they to us!) is going to continue to evolve rapidly with our without us. By focusing on the social experience, we create a much more adaptable approach to evolutionary changes in the social medium.

The Tail End of the Horse

I have always believed that marketers latch onto new media channels like Social Media way too late. By the time most companies get caught up to speed on Social Media it will have changed yet again, and guess what, email or something else we GenXers hold dear may have gone the way of the Dodo too.

What we need to do is get in front of the horse and try to see where its going instead of walking behind it and getting shit on our shoes.

Disagree? Agree? Just want to argue the points? Let me know!


Jeff – Sensei

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