Chart Your Online Conversations

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

Brian Solis is an interesting person. Digital analyst, anthropologist, and self-described futurist. One of his key areas of focus is the effect of disruptive technology on business and society. In 2008 as a part of that research he decided to map the social media landscape in what he called the “Conversation Prism,” coming up with a few categories that neatly classified the landscape as it was when Iron Man, The Dark Night and Twilight were in theaters.

Times sure have changed…

2008

2017

True, 2 of those 3 movie characters are still showing up on the screen, but Mr. Solis’ handy chart now requires a zoom feature.

So what lessons are there for manufacturers?

Ride the Storm Out

One other big event from 2008? The Great Recession. And if your business has recovered in those intervening 9 years, your social media plan is probably ready for an update. The big players are all still there, but with vastly different offerings, are you taking advantage of them?

Lead from Behind

Usually terrible advice, but not in this case. Notice how many platforms didn’t survive? I would expect a much higher percentage going forward as new technologies spawn new applications that no one ever uses (I’m looking at you QR Codes). One of the great advantages of the manufacturing industry is that it’s not as driven by “early adopters” as retail and other segments. So let the “next big thing” prove itself for a bit.

It’s Your Retirement Fund

Not literally, as social media should be a tool rather than a be-all, end-all. But just like an effective Market Cap Fund, your presence online should be spread around. Not too much emphasis on any one investment, and you should always have knowledge on the larger market. This way you’ll spread your risk, while not having a problem you didn’t even know about fester (have you looked at your Glassdoor reviews lately?)

Be a Part of the Rising Tide

One thing the explosive nature of this chart’s growth proves is that the digital marketplace is not going away. Traditional ways of reaching audiences will probably never go away, but they will never again be as dominant. So make sure you’re at least keeping a foot dipped in the waters.

The newest Conversation Prism can look like a jumbled mess, but with a well-planned approach and consistent messaging, you can succeed and lead.

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