Conversational Marketing in the Age of Social Media
I’ve been wondering lately about the concept of integrated social media strategies for businesses.
There’s no mistaking it but some social media will work better for certain types of businesses and industries than others. Some will excel with the use of videos, and some with the written word. Some will adopt the use of multiple social media— running the gamut of blogs, twitter, linkedin, youtube, and facebook.
So here’s the question which has been plaguing me for a while: Who’s doing it well? I mean, who’s doing a good job tying them all together, cross-linking and integrating them into a full user experience.
I became even more curious yesterday after reading a post, Which Twitter Strategy is Right for You, by Rodger Johnson. The post describes the twitter strategies of six companies you may have already heard about: JetBlue, Rubbermaid, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dell, Zappos, and Comcast. So, with these key twitter players in mind, I thought I’d do a little experiment, and see whose doing what and how well are they linking all their profiles and web sites together e.g. how would a user know about all the profiles these companies have?
Recently, we have been working with clients to develop their organizational social media policies. We have seen dozens of examples and read many blog posts about what they should include and how they should be presented. Some were developed collaboratively by employees, sometimes using a wiki, and posted online to share with the general population.
Since we’ve seen many companies approach their thinking about this process ineffectively, we’d like to share our thoughts on how to do this well.
What is the purpose of a social media policy?
Social media policies are intended to make clear to employees what is expected of them, when and how they use social communities and blogs, and acceptable ways to mention their company. Often companies embark on the development of the document as a legal tool to prevent employees from engaging in unfortunate online behavior. When you look at large corporate policies, they often have a feeling of a legal document, with a lot of “thou shalt nots” in them. We advise companies to approach this differently.
Three social media tips which may seem obvious on the surface, but can easily be overlooked.
Tip #1: Our Minds aren’t Computers or Smartphones
Like great writers of all times, carry a notebook with you wherever you go. When an idea or a line comes to you, write it down, otherwise you may lose the pearls of wisdom you had been writing in your head. My favorite notebooks are moleskin. I have them in lots of different colors and sizes. If you’re not familiar with moleskin their claim to fame is how for two centuries they’ve been “the legendary notebook of artists, writers, intellectuals and travelers.” I keep a small one inside my bag with a mini pilot G-2 pen. I’m always pulling the journal out and making a notation. Recently I’ve started using my iphone for quick notes too, but sometimes there’s nothing like a quick scribble in my moleskin. For some inspirational uses of moleskin journals check out these stories.
Andrew Goodman’s post, “Social Media as Signaling Strategy” raises an important question when he asks, “What if you just didn’t do social media at all, and kept on doing the things you know generate leads, partnerships, repeat business, etc.?”
The question I immediately thought in response is why? Why would you do that? Why would any forward-thinking business today take an a no-can-do attitude towards social media? The short answer comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of doing it poorly.
But what if I was to tell you that it wasn’t hard. It’s not going to require a major shift in your company’s paradigm, or financial investment. What if all it really takes is a willingness to learn, to stay current, to ask questions, and to ask for help when you need it.
I know from first-hand experience the feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do your job and learn the necessary steps for getting started in social media. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and either was social media. Start by asking yourself what social networks and social media marketing make the most sense to you. Bite off a little at a time. If it’s LinkedIn and Facebook right now, and you can’t commit to writing regular blog posts, so be it. There’s no magic formula. There’s no one-size-fits-all.
This week I kept hearing one particular verse of the Stevie Nicks song, Landslide, playing in my head,
“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too
Oh I’m getting older too”
Then, I remembered, we were coming up on another year. To be exact, two years ago today, Weber Media Partners published our very first blog post on Impressions through Media.
Who would have known at the time, but it was only the beginning. From there we went on and created presences on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Delicious and more. We became regular commenters. Readers of countless RSS feeds plus a long list of books about social media marketing. To put it simply, we love what we have discovered in social media. We love sharing knowledge and information through following, updating, friending, tweeting, youtubing. In fact, we love everything about the new ways of communicating. We’ve become true social media enthusiasts.
Our family has always valued exceptionally prepared food using long proven recipes. For Christmas dinner, my aunt, a professional cook, comes to my home to help me prepare my German grandmother’s Rouladen, which we serve with egg noodles and red cabbage. She has taught me to keep notes on quantities, cuts of meat that work best, and any alterations we make to the original recipe.
It was at my aunt’s house, as a young girl, that I first saw Gourmet magazine decorating the coffee table in the living room. The glossy covers often had food that I didn’t recognize, but given her background, I knew it must be an important professional resource, and everything in it must be good.
Over the last few years, things have changed. While we still make the traditional Christmas meal, the recipe needs to be gluten free, which makes holiday meal preparation an exercise in caution as much as a celebration. As for where we get our recipes, rather than cut out of the paper or a magazine, we find them online and share them via email. When I want to make something with leeks, it’s a whole lot easier to search for it online, rather than shuffle through an archive of magazines. This approach, while more efficient, doesn’t have the same leisurely experience of paging through a magazine, being inspired to make something you wouldn’t have thought of on your own, like pumpkin soup or a peach crumble.
I haven’t picked up Gourmet in years, so I guess it is not a surprise that the magazine is going under, as announced today in the Wall Street Journal. With magazine advertising dollars being shifted to online publications, we will lose some of the old standbys. There will come a day that print magazines as we know it will no longer exist, along with print newspapers and television networks.
While I embrace the digital publishing model, I still love magazines. While I know you can do a lot with it, you can’t dog-ear the page of a Kindle.
Several months ago, Weber Media Partners initiated our “Make Every Tweet Campaign.” We took on the challenge of truncating messages from noteworthy books and reports about social media marketing and business.
We believe tweets should make a difference, have an impact. Tweets can tell a story. Can educate a line at a time. For the user, its an easy way to stay on top of resources they may not have otherwise known about or thought they had the time to read. The hope is that the tweets will spark more interest, be re-tweeted, initiate direct messages and most importantly encourage the user to read the material in its entirety. As we say, Make Every Tweet Count campaigns should not substitute for buying and reading the entire book!
For the month of October we are excited to bring you month-long tweets from Erik Qualman’s new book, Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, published by Wiley. Socialnomics was a shoo-in for “Make Every Tweet Count.” You can open the book at any page and take away a message which will either change the way you’ve been thinking about social media or validate why you’ve been using it in your personal life or at your place of work.
Follow us this month on . Join in the conversation, 140 characters at a time.
Not being a naturally goal-oriented person, sometimes I have to make conscious decisions about committing to the things I hope to accomplish. That’s where my Social Media Reading List comes into play.
A few weeks ago, I set myself a goal, even wrote about it on my Amazon Reading List on LinkedIn—that I would read three new Social Media books in early fall. After reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, and Sticks & Stones by Larry Weber, I’m happy to report I’m on the third one —Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business by Erik Qualman.
As suggested even in the title of Qualman’s book, Social Media most definitely transforms the way we live and do business. Sometimes it even changes the course of our direction, how our day unravels. So, this morning after dutifully reading through the numerous google alerts I subscribe to, I clicked on a link towards the bottom of the google alert page for social media marketing. It took me to a post, a blog I’d never been to before. The post was good, kept my attention. I kept reading. Buried down towards the end of the post was a link. I was curious, it peaked my interest. That’s what linking is all about, right?
Then, after clicking through from one link to yet another, lo and behold, I found myself on Erik Qualman’s blog, where I was greeted by the video httpv://socialnomics.net/2009/08/11/statistics-show-social-media-is-bigger-than-you-think/, Social Media Revolution, and a list of the statistics used in the video. The experience was Social Media’s equivalent of six degrees of separation.
Qualman’s video is excellent. I thought I’d take a second to post it here for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to reading Socialnomics. More about the book later.