The social web agenda can be influenced, just as the traditional news agenda can be. Since I’ll be working internationally with digital strategies, I ask myself how important seeding strategies really are? My conclusion is that your choice of strategy must originate from an understanding of how your specific social web niche really works – locally.
In the Nordic countries, and several European ones, the blogosphere sets the social web agenda. Not only do you need influential bloggers pushing your messages, you also need to be a part of the blog eco-system. Blogger outreach, blogger relations, and controlled corporate platforms becomes increasingly important in these markets. I know this since I have been based in Stockholm for several years, the social web epicentrum of the Nordics.
Different Rules Apply Elsewhere
Interestingly enough, the social web agenda seems to be working in different ways in different markets. In North America and the UK for instance, micro blogging seems to play a larger role when it comes to sheer conversation volumes. Why is this so? My theory is that a large population in which micro blogging is embraced not only by those who also blogs, enables the micto blogging volumes to grow much faster than the long-term processes of building traditional blog audiences.
Setting the social web agenda is therefore depending on how the social media logic works in different regions.
In Sweden for instance, you can create niche influence by creating interesting content and being social about it, so therefore strategies stem from setting up long-term corporate transparency programs. Sure, also Swedish corporate messages would benefit from building extreme followings, becoming trending topics on Twitter, or to make it into Digg top listings, but Sweden is simply to small to compete with North American or UK content.
But as I will be working both out of Stockhom and NYC from now on in order to become more of an international digital strategist and advisor, I really look forward to be working more with seeding strategies.
Seeding – hitting the trending topic sweet spots
Creating reach and impact by leveraging the power of social filtering portals such as Digg and the likes of it will be extremely interesting. I look forward to be developing and implementing strategies for leveraging seed set-ups and corporate messages that can qualify as top content and combining these strategies with strategies for building followings, influence, and increasing the level of engagement amongst the base.
Of course, I’m keen on the idea of acquiring more of a 360 competence. But I’m also excited about how these combined insights will strengthen the argument for corporations using the social web for gaining local business intelligence.
Adapt To Your Niche – Not Only To Your Location
Because the inner workings of the social web isn’t just about language, population size, and geographically bound cultures. It’s also about niches. In some niches, no matter country of origin, the best strategy is to be working with advanced seeding techniques, in others with influence and search. Or maybe leveraging a combination of both strategies depending on the specific challenge?
In any case, the only way for a company looking to either communicate locally or internationally is to work actively with social media monitoring. Or to be more specific – refining social media monitoring into social media intelligence. Because most social media monitoring tools available will simply raw data. It will be filtered and presented statistically in graphs or columns, but you need to interprete this information into metrics that actually means something for the organization.
The social web evangelists – and I’m proud to declare myself as one of them – have always emphasized the importance of listening. And it is. But the time is now right to start interpreting the data and to get organized. That’s what’s so exciting to me!
Watch Out – Challenges Ahead
On the strategic level, the challenge for listening corporations will be to get strategies, guidelines, and processes aligned and in place and then start doing the right things. On the tactical level the challenge will be to create compelling, diversed and well-adapted niche content as well as learning how the social web should be utilized both locally and globally.
When it comes to seeding, there are an abundance of grey areas, just as in traditional SEO. There are ways to buy spin, i.e. manipulating the link aggregators. We need to develop succesful tactics on how to earn top content listings across the web.
The common denominator in all this is most likely great and creative content combined with the power of the web influentials, the social media naturals, in relation to your brand. These are the rainmaker components, plain and simply – no matter what strategy you’re looking into. And personally I’m determined to master all of these strategies on behalf of my new and future clients!
What are your experiences in hitting the “trending topic” sweet spot? Have you deciphered the formula for your company yet?