Staying Social And Tech Savvy



The technology of the internet changes constantly, but that’s one of the things Clo Willaerts loves about it. The social media expert, who will be one of the guest speakers at this year’s PINC Conference in Sarasota on December 8, spoke to SRQ about how to keep up with the changing platforms of the web, and why it’s worth keeping up.

After seeing acquisition talks end with Twitter, should we presume that the social media platform is failing? Willaerts: That's jumping to conclusions...Twitter is a weird animal, and I understand that many of the big players don't see how they could integrate Twitter into their own business models. There's only room for two big mainstream players (current status: Facebook and YouTube) so the obvious outcome for Twitter is to stay and become a niche player. I like the fact that it's an excellent real-time news filter, for example. And I still think it's currently the only social media platform that teaches you new things (as opposed to: getting you stuck in your own interest bubble).

With so many social platforms now out there, how should marketers decide what works best for their clients? Map the online watering holes for your target group using only public social media. Focus on no more than three platforms and do those well. Cluster platforms that integrate well together, e.g. Facebook and Instagram. Measure, rinse, repeat. Start with a plan but be prepared to adapt it as soon as the results come in.

What impact does social media have within some of the less wealthy economies of the world? Has mobile tech changed access to media in these markets? I do a lot of volunteering in Southern Africa, including in very poor countries like Malawi. Mobile tech has changed access to media there, but the technology is different. Almost every important decision-making process and/or digital transaction is mobile first—but mainly through SMS. When it comes to media, I notice that new (media) players like Facebook are aligned to these local trends, but their news sites still look like if they were made in the ’90s.

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