Monday, July 13, 2009

Don't be a Tool. Be a Crafstman.

Let me ask you something. Would you trust a contractor who shows up for a job with only one tool? Let's say a hammer. No level, no wood saw. Just a hammer. But, to be fair, it is a very shiny hammer. And all of the cool contractors are using it. To be completely honest I don't know a drill from a wrench so I am probably not one to be giving you advice on shiny hammer guy. But I do know a little bit about social media and the most successful efforts require a strategic mix of tools and tactics. And each tool is different depending on your client's goals. Yep, I said goals. Let's take a second to discuss goals.

Client: I want 1000 Facebook Fans!

Clear goal. Easily qualified metric. If the client gets 1000 followers, that is a social media success, right? Well, before you break out the champagne, consider what those followers mean to your client's business and bottom line. If you can't answer that then you don't have a real life business goal. So how can you even begin crafting a strategy or marketing plan?

But, your client really, really, really wants to be on Facebook!

Well, I wouldn't tell my contractor what drill bit to use. I trust that he will choose the appropriate tool to get the job done. And as a social media marketer it is my responsibility to understand my craft and all of the tools at my disposal. So that when a litigation specialist asks for a Facebook Page, I can gently inform her that well, it's not likely anyone will "like" Chinese dry wall litigation. But, depending on what she wants to accomplish, I bet I can use my keen listening skills (aka bionic ears, thanks Tom Martin) to find someone else out there who is talking about it. And then together we will figure out the best tool to reach them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hot for Teacher

I'd like to buy the world a Coke. And then teach them how to TwitPic it, upload to Flikr, YouTube & Vimeo and share with a friend on Facebook.

I am rabidly obsessed eager to teach everything I know about Social Media to anyone and everyone who will listen. This prompted a friend of mine to ask "Aren't you making yourself obsolete if you teach everyone to do what you do?"

First of all let's remember that Twitter is 140 characters followed by a big "UPDATE" button. If my ultimate talent was Twittering, I'd be in pretty big trouble.

Secondly, the entire premise of social media is the ability to have authentic real-time conversations. The most appropriate person to own and publish that "authentic" voice and personality is therefore the client himself. Ironic that Web 2.0 makes the customer/ brand relationship personal again.

There is no longer a need for carefully crafted content held tightly to the chest until it is "released " upon the public through professionally recommended media outlets. These days anyone can create and broadcast content. The gates are open and the gatekeepers better start looking for a different line of work. Brian Solis does a great job explaining this revolution (he even gives away some resources...for FREE).

"The socialization of the Web and content publishing disrupted the balance and is now forcing a media renaissance that is transforming information distribution, human interaction and everything that orbits this nascent ecosystem."

That said, the shifting communications paradigm does not make marketing and communications specialists obsolete. But it does change the way we look at the purchase cycle and define and sell to our best customer. *Gasp* Did she say SELL? Damn, right I did. All this talk of conversations and discussions sometimes neglects that the ultimate goal for most companies is to make a profit.

This is not a dirty scheme. As long as you are upfront about your product and have something of worth to sell, there is likely someone out there who is interested in buying. Say for example you sell comfortable eco-friendly flip flops with a triple bottom line business ethic. Eco-bloggers, philanthropy advocates, crunchy granola folks- there are a ton of people who would be interested in that product. And there are a ton who wouldn't. According to a recent NY Times article this is a prime opportunity for PR folks to find their niche and develop valuable relationships.

"P.R. is important because it’s pretty intensive to figure out who [the power users] are."-Donna Sokolsky Burke, co-founder of Spark PR

So, consider me your Social Media GPS. Vetting and identifying appropriate communities is something I love doing. It takes time, honesty and a certain stalker quality. (Remember in that last paragraph when I said "valuable" relationships. If not, go straight to jail. Do not collect $200 and certainly do not read the next sentence. You will never understand it). It also requires the ability to and interest in listening. Once you find your target's lair, it's not pounce time. It's not time to spam the community with "Look at Me" display ads and guerrilla forum postings. It's not about you.

That's right. Once again SoMe does not stand
for "So...let
me tell you all about Me". It's about listening, participating and giving. So go buy someone a Coke. And then listen. Even if they don't sing in perfect harmony. Because once you know them a little better you can recommend a voice coach.

Friday, July 3, 2009

LPTV- An Ode to Old White Guys

This went off on old white guys. Again. And now I am officially over it.

PS This super special extra flattering thumbnail is an added bonus. I promise I'm not drunk. No. Really.