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Chatting Up Social Media #SocialChat 1-24-2010


Posted on : 6:47 PM | By : Michelle Stinson Ross

The inaugural session of #SocialChat was an interesting mix of the fun, thought provoking, and sometimes downright silly.  Even so, when you get minds like these together, nuggets of gold will always be uncovered.  Enjoy the summary of the January 24th session of #SocialChat.

Guest: Alan K’necht – Founding Partner at Digital Always Media Inc., SEO/SEM & Web Analytics Consultant at K'nechtology Inc., Co-author of “The Last Original Idea: A Cynic’s View of Internet Marketing.”

Most active contributors: @SocialMichelleR @aknecht, @pcmguy, @aimclear, @AlanBleiweiss.

Twitter and Social Media are really nothing new.  Actually, Social Media is just a technologically aided social gathering place.

Twitter = going back in time to: AOL discussion groups, Usnet discussion groups, IRC & checkerboard at corner store...

Twitter can even be equated to the campfires of primitive man where they discussed tips on how to use rocks to kill animals.  But any other meeting place will do, the barber shop, beauty parlor anywhere like minded people swap ideas.

So, if Twitter is really nothing new... What about using it for marketing?

Twitter makes it easy for brands to listen in on social conversations.  Smart brands were doing this in the 80s with Usenet groups.

Here’s an example for you:  In the late ‘80s, Snapple monitored a Usenet group on Snapple flavors to see what people thought of new flavors as they were introduced.  If the group discussions revealed that the flavor wasn’t working, Snapple discontinued and tried another one.  This was very cutting-edge for Snapple, but people have always talked about how they like or dislike products and brands.  The difference now is the audience size of any given conversation.

Many companies already have filters running on specific keywords to monitor what people are saying about them.  Thanks to Twitter, there are more conversations between more people to mine.  If you’re not monitoring your brand and your name, our asking for trouble.  That’s why a whole industry has begun to grow up around Reputation Management.

But lurking isn’t the solution.  It’s only by joining the conversation that anyone can get the most value out of Social Media involvement.  Businesses are only now beginning to understand that people are already talking, and it’s in their best interest to be actively involved in the conversation.

The innovation with Social Media is the potential reach and size of audience, and the SPEED at which a message can travel.

Social Media allows us to communicate without regard for time zones and geography.

In the past, you might talk to 12 people around the water cooler at work through the course of the day, now you can talk to the entire company AND all of your personal friends outside of work in seconds.

Personal networks are as old as business itself.  “It’s not what you know, but who you know…”  The difference is, now, keeping in touch is not limited to a face-to-face conversation or a phone call.  Large personal networks facilitated by current technology are worth leveraging.

Social Media has plenty of drawbacks to our personal lives, too.  There will always be a struggle for balance.

We seem to get so hooked on the hot new shiny thing that we forget the other people in the room with us.  Sometimes the lightening fast mobile devices are both bane and blessing.

Many of us had to admit being guilty of not being able to turn off the temptation to check the chiming Smartphone while driving.  Twitter pings and Client Google Alters seemed to be things we could not let wait until later.

Use of Social Media on mobile devices has become so pervasive that ¼ of Americans will actually admit to tweeting while in the loo.  There’s even a percentage that admit they would stop in the middle of lovemaking to check a message.

Current technology has so affected when and where we CAN communicate, that we need to stop and consider whether or not we SHOULD stop what we are doing to tap something into that little device.

Not only does Social Media require some personal responsibility on how and when we use it, but we also need to be responsible communicators within the Social Media sphere.

Number 1 Twitter pet peeve: The auto DM.  Auto Direct Messages thanking someone for a follow are tantamount to a telemarketing call to thank you for looking in the store window.  Not only is it intrusive, but also, the fact that it’s auto generated with zero thought about whom it is being sent to is like kryptonite for engagement.  Alan Bleiweiss got the whole group’s attention when he commented that he blocks all automated DMs.  Just how to do that was of high interest.  So, even as marketers, we don’t want to see useless impersonal spam on our twitter accounts.  It will take a major shift in thinking to get businesses accustomed to broadcasting their marketing messages to start engaging in real one-on-one conversations with the general public, and resist the urge to spam.

On Monday, January 31,  #SocialChat will be an open forum on the general topic of proper Social Media etiquette for business and transparency within social circles.

Michelle Stinson Ross is a Social Media Consultant, Blogger, and Published Author.  Her growing company specializes in Social Media Marketing for small business, and focuses on helping clients to become savvy and self-reliant.