Posted April 7, 2009 2:14 pm by with 17 comments

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by Kristy Bolsinger

813014_eggs_in_one_basketSo your company has stumbled upon the next big thing (no reference to StumbleUpon intended, necessarily). Twitter. There is a gigantic scramble to jump on the newest ‘it-girl’ of the social media world and make money, be a presence, play in the pond so to speak. “This is going to revolutionize how we manage [insert subject matter here ranging from: customer service, customer engagement, branding, marketing, advertising, etc.]” is something we may have all heard from our clients or management.

Haven’t we heard this before? Isn’t there a pattern forming here? The ‘curve of cool’ that dominates the product marketing sphere is starting to resonate in social media.

The curve of cool represents the pattern a product or brand faces in the market place. It slowly builds traction. Before long it has an underground following, leading into the early adopters. Eventually the product is the new must-have for everyone. At this point however, the early adopters are already beginning to familiarize themselves with what will be the next ‘must have.’ The product or service becomes completely mainstream to the point where it eventually burns itself out. Now it is so cool, that it is no longer . . . cool.

So that’s not to say that a social media effort should be abandoned once it goes mainstream. Far from it. MySpace is still earning revenue and some might argue that that shark has been jumped. Facebook is still earning revenue and it’s fairly mainstream at this point. Twitter. The T-word. Twitter has yet to earn any revenue, but its popularity is sky-rocketing. Once, only individuals living in the tech-o-sphere and online marketing communities knew about this little gem. Now you can fine everyone from my mom, yes my mother, to Shaquille O’Neal and President Barack Obama. Twitter is all over the mainstream media for its new found popularity. Speculation over how this social media pop princess will turn a profit doesn’t hurt its media popularity either.

What’s next for Twitter? A Google buy-out? Selling ads? Who knows? They’re talking, they’ve admitted that. The real question is “What’s next for social media?”

Diversification is a common practice in strategic business thinking. Diversification also has a place in planning out a social media strategy for an organization. If your organization is aware of and has a presence in as many social networking sites as possible then it will be poised and prepared for the ‘next big thing.’ Social media isn’t all about Facebook, MySpace and Twitter though. During his keynote at IM Spring Break, as covered by Shana Albert, Chris Winfield outlined the types of social media businesses should be involved in. Not just Twitter, but blogging, bookmarking sites, online reviews and others.

The point is, no one knows where social media/marketing/networking will take us. The key is to be ready and by all means, do not put all of your eggs in one basket. Be ready to leverage your presence wherever possible (and appropriate for your audience), engage, and dominate.

Kristy Bolsinger is a full-time MBA Candidate at Willamette University in Salem, OR, set to graduate in May 2009. She currently works part time as a social media and online marketing consultant.

  • Kristy,

    Point taken and also well put.

    Another issue, common to more than just social media, is people switching before really giving something a proper chance or the proper effort. You know, sort of like, “Well, I tried MySpace and didn’t get a date/job/client/whatever, so then I tried Facebook and that didn’t help, so know I’m trying Twitter.” Sort like the way many diet or go to therapy; they try one for the sake of trying it and fooling themselves that they’re actually doing something, and then when the old magic does happen immediately they move on to the next new magic.”

    Diversification and layering of social media is the key, plus using each for it’s best purpose. Add water, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and it starts to actually cook. If folks would see the new tools as additions, rather than replacements for what they used before, they’d have a richer experience.

    And, of course, one needs to recognize the trending toward ever-faster change and not only be ready for it, but attempt to anticipate it and greet it with joy and excitement – WITHOUT abandoning the modes already adopted.


  • Kristy Bolsinger


    I totally agree with you. I think many expect social media venture’s to be a magic bullet. Of course on the other extreme, some don’t find it’s value.

    There is definitely a need to find the balance between knowing when to reallocate resources, and knowing when to stick it out.

    Thank You!!

  • I blogged about what should be next for Twitter – or any other Social Media site that wants to succeed – in the post I’ve linked to the main URL field (not the CommentLuv field – it is older than that). The Social Networking site that makes it easy for users to locate exactly what they’re interested in will be THE one that also provides an awesome opportunity for businesses. More details in that post.

    Internet Strategist’s last blog post..By: Social Media: Valuable Investment or a Waste of Your Valuable Time? Your Thoughts? | GROWMAP.COM

  • Yeah, i used several social media, just to promote my main blog.

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  • Great points you make here. It’s also smart to diversify your social media portfolio because there are so many out there. Aside from the main medium (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter), there are a lot of niche networks as well. You want to reach as much audience as you can.

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  • Kristy Bolsinger

    Yeah I briefly touched on diversification. There’s a lot to be said for that. Especially when one is thinking about where the niche you’re operating in may be found. If you know your audience well enough you know where they can be found, and hopefully where they’re going (now and next).
    It’s also a good idea to diversify to be able to take advantage of the next up and coming site. Diversification, as in any business strategy has its place and usage in social media marketing. Niche sites included of course!

  • “If you know your audience well enough you know where they can be found, and hopefully where they’re going (now and next).”

    What you wrote right there will stick in my head for a long time. This is why understanding your market/audience is paramount to business success. If none of your audience is on the next big thing i.e twitter, then it would be a waste of time using twitter. But the chances of your audience not being on twitter is very slim these days as so many people are tweeting away. This is where twitter directories such as come in handy.

    The hype around the next big thing doesnt really matter when it comes down to the fact that all you need is to be involved with your target market.

    Brilliant post, no wonder it’s on top of sphinn.

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  • Graham Higginson

    I can only agree that no one knows where social media is going, but it is going somewhere and fast. Back in the early days of the internet, my lawyer, a leader in his profession both then and now, stated that the legal profession would never accept email!

    We are building a network of niche bookmark sites covering the areas of lifestyle, sports and business under the umbrella in the belief that tightly targeted groups will attract interested users and the ROI for social marketeers will be greater.

  • I have to agree with Ben, the following statement really resonates…

    “If you know your audience well enough you know where they can be found, and hopefully where they’re going (now and next).”

    If you develop a site around a market you are passionate about you will know where your audience is going and you’ll WANT to be there. I think its important beginners really consider launching a site about a topic they are truly interested in.

    That being said, I struggle (as a part-time marketer, full-time developer, part-time student) finding the time to concentrate on a balanced approach to social media marketing. Especially since the “connections/relationships” take time and legitimate effort to build and maintain. Any suggestions? The obvious one I guess is to hire someone (that can actually represent your brand well).

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  • @Lyndon: If the business sees social media as something that will give them a competitive advantage (which, imo it will for every business). Then they should have a a seperate division of their company that combines Public Relations with Marketing. Anything that gives you up to date and accurate information of what your audience wants is priceless.

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  • Kristy Bolsinger

    @Lyndon Sorry for my delay in response.
    Coming from someone who is in a similar place as you are (school, work, etc…) I think it’s important to make social media an integral part of your daily life. Its’ easy to get caught up in the other stuff and dismiss social media especially when the stress is on.

    There are a lot of productivity tools that make contributing and remaining active in social media a lot easier. The various clients for Twitter, FriendFeed, Digsby, etc allow you to update more than one site at a time. Set ongoing reminders throughout the day and take 5 min’s to get engage. I love social media so I’m almost always scanning, but I use times like lunch and other ‘down’ time to dig in a little deeper. Not every organization, especially if it’s a one-man show can afford a dedicated division so it’s a matter of integrating it throughout your day in some way.

    The topic of hiring someone to manage your sm and branding is a totally different conversation that brings up an entirely different set of concerns. But in short, I can say that the one definitive answer about outsourcing sm initiatives is: “It depends.”

  • Am extremely sorry to be taking a contrarian point of view here…. Just replace “twitter” in this article with “facebook” and the article would have worked just as well. Replace Social Media with some other domain and there too… So what are we talking about here? Social Media strategy or one-size-fits all strategy? Aren’t you falling into the same trap that you accuse companies of falling?

  • Kristy Bolsinger

    I’m not quite so sure I understand what you’re trying to say here.
    I think I was pretty clear that diversification is a key strategic point in social media, as it is in many other areas. I also did not focus only on Twitter, other than to point out that at this moment in time it is the site getting all of the attention. So, given that, no I don’t believe I am falling into that same trap.
    I appreciate contrarian points of view as they are the source of discussion, I’m just not so sure what your argument is.

  • Diversification is key in all aspects of online marketing — social media marketing, and link building included. Too many people do put all of their eggs into one basket, so to speak, and when trends change, or search engine algorithms change, etc — they’re left scrambling (pun intended!) trying to get back what they lost almost overnight.

    Successful online businesses have multiple streams of marketing in place — SEO, social media, affiliate, advertisements, etc — and each of those groups should have subsets themselves. While you can put all of your faith in article marketing, Twitter, ads that appeal to a narrow market, etc… it’s a bit risky.

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  • There are the popular social media sites then there are the ones you have to dig deep to find . Creating your own social media site that has a smaller or niche following is even better.

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