I groaned when I saw the assignment for this week. I feel lukewarm about how I am going to respond.
Discuss the current state of social media within your industry. What tools does your industry use or should use to improve their standings in the social media environment?
If you're reading this you know that social media IS my industry as it relates to my blogging and my business. So sometimes it's hard looking at specific tools or how we can improve our standing within the broader spectrum of social media. I have thoughts on this. Some of them you've heard before and some you may not have (how dare you not be subscribed to my RSS feed!).
I think things are changing in the blogging world. This past year has brought a shift. A change in our social pulse. Have you felt it?
Have you noticed the terminology changing? No longer are we being called bloggers, per se. We are being referred to as influencers. That has become the new "organic" or "authentic" of the blogosphere. Overused and under-defined.
As social media grows and evolves, I feel that a writer's role also evolves. Partly because there's a need to do so especially when in the past, firms and brands have not necessarily understood the best way to work with us. And partly because we haven't made it easy.
I spoke at two conferences this year. Both topics similar: the business of blogging. I think the biggest tool that my industry can use to improve our standing is more of an idea and an ongoing practice: documentation and reporting.
Okay so, you guys know I'm all project manager brained over here. So yes, some of this comes because of my previous role in the world. But, ultimately, the only way that we can prove what we bring to the table is with metrics. Information and education for both the PR firms and the brands.
You can check out the last presentation given at the Florida Blogger's Conference here in Orlando. Our workshop was called The Business of Blogging: Building Relationships with Brands. It was given by myself and the other co-founders of Social Influenz.
These are all things that we have done as we have grown and as we have found a need when working with brands. Being able to show that a campaign was successful, prove that the reach was there and educate our partners so that they understand how that translates to visibility, positive impressions in the community and as Ted Rubin says, a return on relationship.
I think as blogging and social media morphs into its next form, we will find that those that are going to thrive in it will do so by going back to some of what is done in more traditional jobs.
For example, I can't imagine having a company pay for me to go to a conference while I was working as a category or project manager and not reporting back as to what I learned, what was discussed, etc. In that same way, I think we will see a need for more transparency and visibility from us influencers. In that way, we will be able to thrive and grow with social media as opposed to having it leave us behind.
Tell me, what tools do you think the blogging industry should use to improve their standing in the social media environment?