Social Media 3.0 – Beyond Blogging

Once was the day when bloggers established the Social Media space and dominated the Internet and Twitter- then came Ashton & CNN. Normalization and pop culture have now proliferated the world of social media, and we are innovating in new ways.

It is clear that we are in the next phase of Social Media Innovation- what I would call Social Media 3.0. As I FINALLY got working on my own website in a quick breather between social media centric development projects, I am realizing how far the tactics have evolved in the last year.

This came to mind as I was immersed in developing the National Civic Summit Social Media Strategy & overall marketing plan. What struck me is that as we reach out to the collection of personas that make up the “civic” space there is not only a gamut in their tech-savvi-ness but there is also a significant difference in their approach to getting things done. This is obviously based on which segment they are representing. So, specifically, public/nonprofit, private/business, or government. And, it is based on the size of the organization, smaller usually means grassroots; larger a more operational or ecosystem approach. Lightning bolt! This is much like the bloggers who have been pumping content into the blogosphere… doing the heaving spade work, and now the time is here when the popularity and general acceptance make that grassroots activity in comparison to what can be done with larger corporate entities or foundations- what will become Social Media 3.0.

Image of Minnesota's Civic Leaders preparing for the National Civic Summit
Minnesota’s Civic Leaders prepare for the National Civic Summit

There are some great examples of folks who have innovated in the civic world while using social media like David Smith and his Mobilizer success and Jake Brewer now at the Sunlight Foundation, previously at Energy Action. So, we know it is a good model- so what are the social media tools that can best launch and support a “movement” or a cause within the civic sector?

As always I would go back to the business objectives of what you are trying to accomplish- in this case civic engagement, voice/civic cause amplification, and momentum. Here is where I think the heart of the shift comes from Social Media 2.0 to the new Social Media 3.0.

We know that user generated content is at the core of social marketing… we also know it needs to be interesting so that people will want to consume it- as Nate Garvis would say “a tasty little snack”. So true, and I would share that you combine that with the old adage WIFM (what’s in it for me) and you have the formula for what I am calling Social Media 3.0.

With the National Civic Summit we have the luxury of testing some cool new social marketing tactics and measuring results, as we have a large opt-in database to work with- the MN Civic Community. So, as we generate all our post event social content, we try (and measure) different social tactics to different audience segments and the like. The results are interesting in that the acquisition and conversion numbers are significantly higher than typical marketing formula standards.

The marketer in me pauses as I explore in my mind what that really means… are we really that amazing at social marketing (maybe above average), is the civic world more engaged and active than others (likely, I can’t wait to do some more tactics and testing), or maybe the time is right and in combination with the first two thoughts, we have hit a trifecta. We’ll have to see on that one.

If you look to the work of Jeremiah Owyang, Forrester Research, in his The Future of Social Web report, with his definition of the evolution of the Social Web he shows us beginning an era of Social Colonization. A time when every website is now social, whether it wants to be or not. When people are leaning on their peers opinions (think voting, polling, community activities), and social networks now have the ability to aggregate and share data in ways they never have before.

Now it is making more sense, clearly it is an alignment of many factors social and otherwise that place us in the right place at the right time to capitalize on all the new tools and blend them in ways that haven’t been explored before. Imagine your organic search results and the link web you could truly create by adding new tools into your Social Media 2.0 blog-centric box.

Anyone else out in the Social Media 3.0 wilderness? I would love to chat with you about your own project experiences and share mine. @SocialWendy

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