I just spent three days in LA at Blog World (Blog World and New Media Expo #bwela), with some of my favorite people (bloggers and those connected to them), saturating myself with information while starting new and building on old relationships.  As you probably know by now, I love connecting with people online, but I love even more connecting the old-fashioned way – face-to-face!

Other than stronger connections and new relationships, the most important takeaway from the conference, IMHO, is that we all need to stop worrying about “where it’s going” in Social and start concentrating on “where it is.”

I understand that with something moving as quickly as this social media wave, it is tempting to spend all our time focused on speculating about the future.  Everyone wants to be out in front of the next big thing in Social and get their brand there first to be recognized as an innovator on the cutting edge… but at what cost?  We still have current customers to serve and current strategies to implement, and quite honestly many of us still have a lot to learn about how to best use the current social media tools.

We need to pay attention to NOW.  Social media has finally been somewhat mainstream for long enough that companies are just starting to reap the benefits of the longer-term relationships they are building with consumers.  Brand loyalty is growing as brands learn what their consumers REALLY want and how they want it – including their use of social media and the unique passion points in those mediums.

Now that the initial novelty of social media use for business has settled down a bit, give yourselves and your consumers a chance to breathe and enjoy the Return on Relationship (ROR, #RonR) that you have spent the last few years building.  There will always be a “next best thing” but your current customers are here NOW and need your attention NOW.

If you really want to stand out and put your brand in a strong position for the future, keep your peripheral vision on the future, but keep your most direct, powerful focus on what is here now, today: your customers/shoppers???.  Watch them, listen to them, and let them tell you when to move to that “next best thing” in Social.  In the meantime, remember, your customers are ALWAYS your next best thing – treat them that way.




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