It was 2007 when I stood up at a conference and predicted Google’s demise in its current form. It was obvious to me that the internet was moving towards version 2.0, 3.0 & 4.0 and this meant going way beyond indexing content.

Tim Berner’s Lee (founder of the internet protocol in 1990) had foreseen a spider’s web for connecting researchers and documentation however I don’t think anyone had really predicted the power of the ‘social web’.

We are currently in a tectonic shift from a search and find internet (largely driven by Google) to a social web of interconnected people, places, opinions, and recommendations (largely being driven by Facebok and Twitter, and now ‘Groupon like’ social commerce, Zynga gaiming and Quora social knowledge.

If I had a $1 for every marketer I come across these days saying they want to ‘do social’ then I’d be rich and probably not writing this post. However it’s funny, as socials beasts, how quickly we lose sight of the fundamentals of business.

Social is as old as the hills. In fact social was sitting around a campfire talking with good friends or sitting around the piano whilst the kids entertained all. The only thing that has changed is the speed, reach and method of ‘being social’.

So what’s my point?
In assessing social marketing opportunities, make sure you maintain a clear head. You must always start with a clear business and marketing plan. The plan should contain a digital plan and within the digital plan there most likely will be a social component. That being said social can go way beyond a digital plan. It should form a part of your PR plan and it should be a large part of your approach to customer relationship management (CRM).

Ask yourself:
Have you identified your greatest advocates and harnessed the power of the social web with them?
Have you analysed who is regularly opening and clicking on your emails and engaging in web content (tools, calculators, polls, promotions etc)?
Have you analysed who is regularly creating content, commenting or engaging with your marcomms whether it be in Facebook, Twitter or your YouTube Channel?
Have you assessed their wider level of engagement on the internet? Maybe Forrester’s Social Technographics data can help guide you with some benchmarks to assess against

Love to hear your views on where the internet is going for your business.