Monetizing Social Media: Social Medians have to set a trend…

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Having worked twelve years monetizing media platforms (offline and online) I follow with great interest the latest talk and buzz on monetizing the social media economy. The time has come to make a point after some famous blogs in Germany (medienlese.com and rivva.com) were about to be closed down. Being a blogger and a social median, I thought about this in a guest post on Digital-Conversation and received some interesting feedback. So, I would like to share my thoughts also with the international social media community.

In my post, I stated that it must be possible to monetize personal social media activities. Not in any kind of classical way of web monetization but in an unconventional way – as unconventional as web 2.0 has revolutionized the world of communication. The reason and necessity for this thought is that, in my personal view, social media activity needs to monetize for the individual as a good (online) reputation is not going to feed ‚hungry holes‘. No, all this work costs a lot of time and effort. Does really nobody want to hear this?

So, we do need a new concept, in every kind of respect – as a combined concept of monetizing social medians in particular – not social media in general. And in my eyes, we won’t be successful in marketing millions of individual blogs, micro-blogs or social networking profiles. No, the complete picture of an individual counts… here needs to be the access for future ideas and concepts. The individual personal branding is key…

A vision – mental acrobatics
Let’s imagine a new web world and turn the present concepts upside down. Just as a kind of mental acrobatics, or vision, how we could be marketing the individual social median.

Let’s call it the ‚3 at one blow‘ idea – and don’t tear this concept into pieces – it only counts as one full picture…

Blogs…
Just allow brands you prefer to be a partner of your blog
If bloggers don’t want to follow the footsteps of the classical web 1.0 publishing branch, then blogs need to find an accepted standard ad format – a similar one web 1.0 started with (the full-size banner it was those days). Maybe the 125×125 Button could be the one which seems to have established itself at the leading blogs not only in America? Bloggers don’t want and need 20 ad spaces. No, blogs need a maximum of four ad spaces in my eyes, as we don’t want to have the right hand frame like a blinking advertising column for ‚everybody’s brand‘. No, ideally, bloggers want to decide themselves which brands gets space, and which doesn’t. Bloggers should just give their self-preferred brands the option to be visible on the individual blogs. Bloggers should not write branded or sponsored posts (the Trigami modell) which pay out their business, blog or the areas of companies interest. Bloggers are doing enough for the world, they don’t need more work to do…

Micro-Blogs…
Just offer brands you ‚adore‘ to sponsor your profile or background picture
Some micro-blogging platforms offer the option to create the profile and the back-ground picture in a way the social median likes it to be seen. Why do only some social medians use this as ad space? Is this working against your glory as a social median? Against the online reputation (and editorial integrity as we called it in the publishing industry some years ago)? Or will there be problems coming up with my employer when I suddenly integrate a logo into my profile picture, or my background picture? Again: If there was some kind of uniform standard, the problems could be solved quickly. Cut out a piece and make us serve our favorite brand!

Social Networks…
And finally, just offer one or two brands you prefer to sponsor your profile picture
The best and only valid ad space on social networking profiles in my eyes is… the profile picture. For, what is the first and most powerful asset you sell with? Yes, you, yourself. And what is the first thing we look at when watching social media profiles? Right, the face. So, why don’t we see profile pictures, in which ’social medians‘ stand for their preferred brands? The way, we have seen this at Twitter lately, where some people promote the events they will be attending in the near future. OK, I can imagine that the employers could be asking, why there is a logo on the profile picture. But if it was standard, and going hand in hand with the blog and the micro-blog, it would not be a problem anymore.

Let’s summarize this idea…

What if…
– you could monetize your pesonal branding by being sponsored from your favorite brands?
– you could define three to four brands you prefer to sponsor you as a social median?
– you could escape the discussion on media reach with the ‚3 in one blow‘ power monetization idea?

Somehow the social media scene seems to be stranded given shrinking or not existing budgets for online media. Isn’t this the right time for a change to find a new monetization model for social media? But in my eyes, either the social medians don’t want, or they cannot face this issue. Thus, although companies want to be present on social median’s activities.

In general, the social median has to ask himself/herself three questions in the future…
– Do I want to make money with my personal branding?
– Do I want to continue post my knowledge for free for a better personal branding?
– Or ‚live‘ with a small online reputation and just have a microblog profile as of a lack of time?

„Free things always hurt“ is the saying of the salesmen. Isn’t it better to show the value proposition of your content, combined with your personal branding, and market this according to your preferences?

The classical ways of monetization (Bannering, Affiliate and Google Adsense) cannot be the future of social media monetization. The problem is obvious: a small reach (compared to huge media platforms or ad networks) offers no chance for a payback or break-even point. The big online platforms have experienced for years that an increased cost-recovery is not to be achieved with these monetization models. Do social medians really want to continue playing along the odd old game?

And what I really cannot understand… Why do bloggers and their ad networks still try to make money with the old cpx models (cpm, cpa or cpo), following IAB standards. Don’t we all know that this cannot be the future of web monetization? At least not, if the quality of the platforms is not meant to suffer…?!

Social medians have to set a good example and find a new moentization strategy which is not depending on sophisticated IAB social media metrics. This way is too complex and I would not even find the time, or even see the necessity, to do the reporting based on this definition. Selling, optimizing and reporting cpx models already was difficult enough. So, why not make processes easier and give companies what they want…

Identifying and positioning next to social medians – but the social median is to decided on the partners.

Spot On!
Let’s imagine we could commit a maximum of four brands for one, two or three years to become partner with us. We would be so called ’sponsored social median VIP’s‘ (obviously not everyone in the world could reach such a status). Only those companies will get our valuable ad spaces that have been defined by us as our ‚favorite brands‘ for a certain time-period. Isn’t this a worthwhile aim of monetizing a social median? Social medians are trendsetters. They are facing the signs for a change – and know about their powerful personal branding.

Looking forward to hearing your views on this monetization model ‘Only my favorite brands can partner with me’ (without writing sponsored posts!).

PS: Performance is nice for companies, but not at all costs for social medians. Or does the world really want to see the freedom of opinion with high-quality content dying before it has even started big way? Just because it cannot be monetized? The social median does not want to become rich, but she/he should make his value proposition clear to the world, right?

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Kommentare

5 Kommentare zu "Monetizing Social Media: Social Medians have to set a trend…"

  1. Stefan Huegel am 15.06.2009 23:45 

    Fancy ideas which you come up with. However, I fear that you are tapping old concepts with your new ideas. Isn’t it actually the old but outdated concept of sponsoring and branding which you are talking about? And wasn’t it back in the print era that publishers came up with this idea of a totally-opaque-ROI-ish concept that granted premium sponsors a tiny little place in high-value editorial environments?

  2. Stefan Huegel am 17.06.2009 22:08 

    Another interesting one … Enterprise 2.0 Software: Commoditization before Monetization … http://www.pretzellogic.org/2009/06/enterprise-20-software-commoditization-before-monetization/

  3. Martin Meyer-Gossner am 18.06.2009 10:11 

    Agree, an interesting one!

    Obviously investors of new enterprise 2.0 businesses seem to be happy that monetization needs to move towards commoditization. Especially, if we look at the popular social networking platforms… And definitely, the ‚free-mium‘ model is one of the best options to monetize. Although I think, there is an end to commoditization once competitors get access and investors want to generate more shareholder value. Paid service is a need for all enterprise 2.0 platforms – not huge costs but definitely some indication. Free things always hurt, right?

    Nevertheless, this focuses on the enterprise 2.0 market, not the individual and the question if monetization of personal branding (created by personal blogs, life streams or network profiles) is an option for the future…

  4. News Update – Best of the Day am 27.11.2009 09:52 

    […] Some people are brand-vangelists. See this production of a LEGO maniac who calles himself LEGO Agent Jones: 440 production hours, 500 US dollars and one camera… – this is the output! LEGO should give him as many LEGO bricks as possible and make him their social VIP. […]

  5. Study: Social Media loyalty? Users follow only 5 brands… am 09.11.2010 13:52 

    […] theory that people have a maximum of not more than 5-6 favorite brands. And I have also set up some trend vision around that thought for social medians. Not for the rest of their live but still for at least time periods of approximately 3-5 years […]

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