Tuesday, September 7, 2010

5 things to do to get ready for coming communication shift

A while ago, I wrote a piece on the next transition in communication that sparked a number of conversations. The idea explored in that article (and the explanation for the diagram on the right) was that the major search engines will next apply their computing and analysis horsepower to understanding who is talking to whom about what.

As they do that, it may become possible to have passive discovery of interesting conversations guided by the algorithms of Google and Bing and their analysis of vast amounts of social media data. Much like Amazon’s book recommendation systems which looks at “people like us” and sees what they are interested in, Google and Bing may soon be able to accurately detect and show specific conversations that are most likely to be of interest to each person.

This coming transition promises to be as disruptive as any transition in communication before it. Here are five things you can do to get ready:

1) Dive Into Social: Watch what the major search engines are doing to aggregate and understand social media activity. Where this effort lands is difficult to predict, but the more involved you are with social, the more aware you will be of the effect of these efforts on how your conversations are being discovered.

2) Understand the Influencers in your Market: Not just the major press and analyst influencers, but the bloggers and smaller influencers in the space who will most likely cause your message to be “discovered” if they join the conversation. Engage and encourage your entire team in building strong relationships with influencers.

3) Create an “Information Concierge” Role: ensure that the high quality information you have finds its way into the conversations in the first place through identifying related conversations, and presenting your information, via an information concierge, in the context of those conversations.

4) Be Findable: understand, and continually improve, how “discoverable” your content is with natural search queries. Not only will this ensure a discipline of search-friendly practices, but it will guide your company culture towards one that thrives on the continuous creation of great content.

5) Watch the Search Majors: As Google deepens its investment in display advertising, and Bing makes similar moves, their ability to target “discovered” conversations will continually increase. Being aware of, and on top of, these investments will ensure you are well positioned to take advantage of them.

Each major transition in communication is disruptive, but those who anticipate, prepare, and get in front of the transitions stand to benefit from them significantly.

(this article, in part, first appeared as a guest post on SavvyB2B - it has since been modified and split into two from the original)
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
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