Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the Competition for Social Media Help

How does a community behave commercially?

The "Social Media Club" launched its first question of the week:
How can we best support our social media community and our peers knowing full well we’re often competing for the same clients and client money?
I like to think that co-opetition means that it is in everybody's best interest to move a category forward even if a specific opportunity is competitive. While the term is usually thought of as a means of leveraging cost structures on complex deals, the application to social media at the moment appears to be more of a 'greater good' opportunity.

Three thoughts:
  • Part of the uniqueness of social media by its very nature is it also allows us to build out our network of like minds in order to learn. I can't think of another business-related vehicle that facilitates contact with outsiders as much. In other times and places the only time we could chat with competitors without the risk of being fired was at trade shows. During rapid category growth learning and experiences out-weigh the competitive threat. Only in a fixed or diminishing pie do competitive threats arise.
  • In time we will develop our own competencies, niches and unique solutions as this medium both matures and fragments. For instance I wouldn't attempt to build a private community, a social user group, or counsel CEOs on PR crises. I would (and do) leverage social media as it relates to branding, positioning, and lead generation in specific categories. The challenge will be in recognizing that leaving a nickle on the table is a commercially viable strategy and better for the client in the long run.
  • If we think about a career its really a series of hopefully cool projects; if the paycheck comes from the same source so much the better. So, if we are to pursue our individual passions and interests we need to know who else is doing neat things. The active use of social media in this regard leaves the other options in the dust.
Without interaction we're only as good as our individual thinking.

Some tags: #SMCQ1, #Coopetition

No comments: