Social media makes everyone a publisher and that is the challenge for startups

NEW YORK—Last May 10, Spark Labs packed its Union Square office to overflowing. Social Media has become a hot topic for the many complexities it is adding to the conversation, the way new social networks emerge and require us to consider them.

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“Everyone is a publisher,” said Aparna Mukherjee of The Paley Center for Media who was joined by four other panelists in the talk at the Spark Labs’ offices near Union Square.

Most startups have indeed become publishers too because of their blog and social media interactions with their customers out there. And many of those who come from a  programming background don’t have the requisite skills and experience to be publishers themselves. This reminds us how Hootsuite knows how hiring an established journalist to manage its content is crucial.

The challenges facing many startups in terms of putting the word out there is certainlly getting harder with people distracted by so many things online. Or as Christian Busch, investor and former Indiegogo SVP puts it, “Social media is becoming more of a communication tool,” adding how people use it even for airing out complaints.

As a publisher, a company or startup has never had so many social tools at their disposal. From Twitter and Facebook to Instagram and Pinterest, to name just a few, everyone is chasing real-time relevance. And talking about real-time, there’s an opportunity to market your product or service out there live using live streaming apps like Periscope and even YouTube, which also offers live streaming now.

Little Things’ Maya Borenstein said, “We found how viral blogging could be huge tool.”  It’s not often you hear someone say what is really happening out there, but she’s spot-on on this one. There’s a way to get attention out there with a blog, only if companies realized they have to spend for it as well.  “Hire good creatives, incentivize them.”

One example of this came from Kristy Sunjaya of Live Person who said companies make use of YouTube for its branded content. Still, she stresses the importance of authenticity.

She admits to going to Alexa every morning. In checking if your social media activities is working, she asks everyone to rely not just on CTR but also engagement and time on site.

The panelists didn’t have all the answers.

“What is prized in social is relevance,” Mukherjee said but she also addressed the crowd and asked them, “How do you repurpose content that was not relevant before?”