I think all of us have at one point asked ourselves – “Why is facebook valued at a gazillion dollars?”
And I’m sure we questioned in some ways deals like Google’s expensive buy of Youtube.
I’ll even admit to asking myself where the goldmine might be when it comes to monetizing social media.
I have pieced together some interesting ideas about this (a great argument around a lot of these points is made here, though with a lot of user-generated vulgarity).
I do feel that in the tech world’s mad dash to first understand, and then monetize web 2.0 concepts, they ignored some of the success stories. While there is a lot of potential inside social media, twitter, etc. for businesses to unlock, there are an awful lot of individual benefits as well.
I am not necessarily talking about the clown who has a million-hit Youtube video of his dog attacking his shoe. I am talking about the individuals who have created valuable, revenue-generating networks for themselves using entirely free platforms. Those consultants or other types with thousands of Twitter followers, boatloads of facebook friends – who have used these connections for work and other gain. The web 2.0 world offers almost more potential for the individual to market himself versus a corporation or a brand.
With an individual – the conversation is pretty clear and tends to be consistent. With many individuals acting on behalf of a brand, gaps will exist. Not that brands haven’t managed this well, I would simply argue it takes more work.
The great thing about CRM’s role in all this – it need not find a business model in the mix. CRM vendors already have one – selling their software. So, by adding these tools to existing products it becomes a nice value add – not a core business driver. It’s a good situation to be able to leverage major trends without worrying about making money off of them.