I just checked out BranchOut, a new social site that is essentially a LinkedIn for facebook. The notion – keep all of your business contacts and information on BranchOut, without the total hassle of managing two completely separate profiles.
This plays into a concept I was discussing yesterday with my associate and very socially savvy pal Randy Hamilton. I was saying that I do believe that broad-based social networks will give way to a more diverse and rich mosaic of social sites and destinations. The combination of Facebook’s terms of service, and the fickleness of individuals makes this an almost certainty.
Also, it just makes more sense. Look at LinkedIn versus facebook. What I share on LinkedIn, look for, and even behave inside that network is vastly different than anything I would do on facebook. For example, I could see myself clicking on an external link in LinkedIn with far less hesitation than facebook. Is there any less security risk clicking on a “business seminar” invite versus joining some silly social gaming platform inside facebook? No, but LinkedIn SEEMS more business-focused and in my silly brain, more secure.
We as individuals like to compartmentalize our lives; we want to share with the world – but only in bits and pieces and at certain times with certain people. Managing a tiered profile on a single network is annoying, time consuming and fraught with potential problems.
But what does this mean for social marketers? Until now, social media marketers have had it easy. Between some Twitter blasts and buying adwords on facebook – there really isn’t much else to do. Very few social channels have the kind of critical mass that commands marketers attention the way Twitter and facebook do. (Of course, there are a lot of very imaginative social marketers who design and execute awesome campaigns – I am just being flippant here.)
But in the near future, social media marketing will be more like, well, traditional marketing. We will have to research and discover ideal networks and channels, temper messages to the rules and expectations of those channels, measure results and adjust accordingly. Ultimately, it presents a challenge but also opportunity. Not only will there be more varied and numerous social networks, but first moving marketers will be able to establish channels and networks for themselves, stake footholds and reap the benefits.