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.