When I launched Conversation Agent back in the summer of 2006, I had a pretty simple concept. My observation was that the line between marketing and public relations would be blurring considerably with greater adoption of social media. The idea that brands should start learning good manners, show personality, and behave is now starting to take hold.
In other words, marketers would have to become better communicators, skilled at one to one relationships, just like their colleagues in public relations.
I must have worked in a recession for the better part of my career as I cannot recall a time when I was responsible for one and not the other. At some point I even came to define myself as a professional operating at the intersection of marketing and PR - where the people and ideas are.
Fast forward to today and you now have practitioners involved in social media and community who come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and skill sets.
The most common so far in what I have encountered are: interactive or digital marketing, digital media, corporate communications. As I stated before, I think public relations professionals are well poised to work very well with social media. They are more acquainted with the idea of personal outreach.
Everyone can use some help with conversation.
It's not all talk anymore. Social media is becoming part of our language and behavior - as customers first, as professionals a close second. The terminology may or will change, the dynamics remain. It's extreme personalization driving it - listening, having a voice, making a difference to the final results.
With all of this in mind, if it doesn't hurt too much, I think it would be interesting to propose how I would do a list from which to nominate the Social Media Marketer of the Year.
This is no Nobel Prize, which took place a couple of months ago with Medicine and Physics opening up the honors. This selection would not be quite as rigorous as those, and hopefully not as contentious or mysterious as that of the Prize for Literature. It might sit somewhere in between. The world is smaller now - global professionals and women (did you know that only 5% won the Prize?) should be on the list.
Each single list I have seen online has been created and maintained by an individual.
Because this is social media, and I am after all the Conversation Agent, if I were to do this, I would hand pick a panel of judges to join me in the collection of metrics and evaluation of the professionals in the running. Together, we'd choose metrics that are less open to personal judgment. Although what would social media be without opinion?
Potentially metrics like:
OVERALL: A sum of the above, which should also yield a nice ROI (return on involvement and influence; the investment of time, attention and care).
Who would have thought we'd come up with an Italian word? From the Jim Collins laboratory:
[image of Sonic the Hedgehog, Wikipedia]