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.


Tom Martin said...

Great post!

Funny how for most of our careers we've been taught that the only way to make money from knowledge is to lock it up and charge $XXX and hour to any client willing to pay for it.

But today, it seems that more folks are Netscaping their way to riches by giving away the basics and then charging $X,XXX an hour for the big thinking, insights and strategy behind the basics.

Keep it up.

Champ Superstar said...

Great post! I joke about programmers coding themselves out of jobs some day.

Social media poses an interesting threat to the old system of checks and balances. Do everything out in the open, be honest about it from the jump and accept informal feedback at any given time. Transparency, openness and collaboration. The construct itself is inherently transparent and self-correcting, which is in turn a creator of revolution. A bit or a byte at a time! Amazing.

Everyone that uses social media doesn't have to be a visionary, but with it we all have the ability to see clearly.

Thanks, Tiffany.

Chris said...

I think one of the key points that people can take away is "give and take". Nice post Tiff!

Tiffany Starnes said...

Thanks for the comments. It is enlightening to empower people to not only embrace new tools but think differently about the entire change happening from traditional "checks and balances" to controlled chaos!