As more practioners enter the field of social media marketing, consulting and branding, those who have been early adopters of these tools should step forward and contribute to the discussion on developing a set of recommended albeit not mandatory set of guidelines for marketing and public relations via social mediums. As someone who is currently engaged in training with Mari Smith, http://www.marismith.com (someone who also cares deeply about ethical behavior online) and who will be part of the first class of certified social media professionals, I’m very interested in hearing about your concerns, issues and ideas for perhaps a “Golden Rules” of using social media for publicity and marketing. Let’s post our ideas here and start the conversation. If you post, please include your full Facebook, Twitter or Website URL including the http:// so that others can friend, follow and connect with you in just one click. You’re welcome to list all of your preferred connection options in that way. Let’s start a movement.
Tag Archives: social media
Social Media has turned the marketing world upside down in the past two years as the consumer evolves from “the mass” to the individual. Some companies and brands have successfully navigated the shift while others, entire industries, have fallen behind and in fact seem surprised by the turn of events. Publishing seems to be one of those industries that are just now scratching their heads and asking “What happened?”
Every person with computer access is now a writer and a publisher or has the ability to be so within 10 minutes of hatching the desire. Anyone can log onto the internet, start a free blog, open a Twitter account (where every 140 character thought they have is indexed and searchable by Google.com) and in effect, publish their thoughts. Business slide presentations, nearly virtual business books, can be posted on LinkedIn and everyone with a glimmer of an idea can create an e-book and distribute it by tonight.
The era when gatekeepers carefully chose which ideas would be presented to the consumer has passed. The idea-makers are taking their work directly to the universe. Less driven by the desire for monetary gain than by the need to express themselves and connect to others, these new world order writers are dumping endless content into the cybersphere. Yet without the filter of publishing houses, editors, agents and the like, how does the end user find the work and commune with the writer? Even if the reader finds the work, how can he/she be assured the work is good, interesting, valid.
The aggregator sites are a start but lack the “taste filter” an editor might have provided. Readers must self-select which writers they’ve liked in the past and hope they’ll enjoy future work. Here’s where the community kicks in. People who share a passion for a particular genre, writer or subject matter become the referral mechanism for those who are searching. People are developing trusted communities and sources from whom they’ll accept recommendations much like we once trusted our local independent bookseller. The hunger for information, the lust for a great read hasn’t died. The medium, the delivery system and the discovery process, however, are changing.
So what does this mean for the future of books, fiction and non-fiction? Publishers will continue to act as curators, finding and nurturing talent, but the financial model will have to change. Increasingly the burden of finding an audience for a writer’s work will fall squarely back on the shoulders of the writer. This is not always a good fit in terms of an writer’s skillset.
Mystery writers and women’s fiction/romance writers have an edge in this new world because publishers have always placed the lion’s share of the promotional responsibilities back on those genre authors. They’ve become experts at self-promotion and understand the importance of building a passionate fan base and engaging with those fans. They’re already social media pros. Business writers tend to be good at this as well. But perhaps this appears so because publishers are only buying books from business writers who have already demonstrated their ability to build a database and a following for exactly this purpose. The business model seems to be, “build it and we will publish.”
How, then, will first time novelists and self-help specialists with new ideas fare in the new Social order? How will great work rise above the noise to capture the imaginations and heart of millions rather than just delight hundreds? Will this democratizing of publishing rob us of literary talent who are not also self-marketers or will this process open the door to bright new talent who might never before have been able to squeeze by the gatekeepers? I don’t know the answers and most likely neither do you but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Since we can’t look at things the same old way, we might as well talk boldly about what “new” can really be.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave or just emerged from a year-long biosphere experiment, you’re aware of the hype over Twitter and the scramble to figure out either how you can use it to grow your business or how you can ignore it and still not be left behind. Well, you can’t ignore it or you will be left behind so let’s look at some very simple ways you can enhance your business strategy with Twitter and maybe even enjoy yourself in the process.
According to internet guru Pete Cashmore’s website http://mashable.com, an estimated 6 million people in the United States have registered Twitter accounts. The research firm eMarketer estimates that this number will double by the end of 2009 to more than 12 million and by 2010 will reach more than 18 million users.
Yikes, you’re thinking. “How can my brand or business stand out in the sheer volume of noise of six million people tweeting?” A better question might be “What do I know that others might also want to know?”
OK, here’s the secret. Twitter is just a conversation. You have conversations everyday. Talk to people on Twitter just as you would were he/she to come into your bricks and mortar store: honestly, personably, helpfully and knowledgably.
- Share: Twitter is a conversation. Talk to people the way you would if you met them socially in person. If every time you met a potential client or customer you launched into a sales pitch, people would go out of their way to avoid you. But if you developed a reputation for being an engaging, interesting person who generously shares his or her experience with everyone-no strings attached-people would be delight to see you and introduce you to their friends and family. It’s the same concept in Twitter. A realtor who Tweets about community affairs, house maintenance tips, great contractors, good sales and special events in the neighborhoods they serve will be considered a resource to people who might not be in the market to buy or sell a home. However, that realtor will be forefront in their minds when a friend is looking to relocate or a family member moves.
- Listen: Conversation is a two-way street. Let’s think again about the similarities between a virtual client interaction and a physical one. If you’re selling jewelry and a potential client walk into your store, you’ll most likely ask them “How can I help you today?” Once you hear that they’re looking for a graduation present, you won’t try to show them engagement rings. In social media, you’ll do the same thing. Tweet about the things you know and the things you care about. Then listen to others and engage in conversations. Think of Twitter as a virtual backyard barbeque. You’ve got a burger in one hand and a soda in the other and you’re talking to some new “neighbors.” You tell them a little about yourself and then you listen as they tell you a little about themselves. When you hear that they are looking for a gymnastics class for their 7 year old, you introduce them to another neighbor, whose child takes gymnastics. They remember you as a great conversationalist, a good listener and a well-connected and helpful neighbor. Next time they need advice, perhaps the name of a good family doctor, you come through again. Ultimately you become a trusted source and when the time comes that they or someone they know needs the service you provide, they will recommend you. On Twitter someone might ask you what hashtags mean or what in the world a Retweet is. Listen to the conversation and provide value to build a strong social media reputation.
- Communicate: Be clear with yourself and others about why you tweet. If you’re using Twitter to grow your business, make sure people can identify what it is you offer. Start with your Twitter name. @Jailbird might not be a great name for an auto dealership but @DriveSmart might be. In many cases, it might be best to use your actual name as your Twitter name. This signals to others on Twitter that your updates will reflect your values and your reputation. Use your twitter profile bio to tell people something about yourself. Include your website link so interested parties can contact you or at least survey your offerings. Customize your twitter background with visual clues as to who you are, what you do and what people might expect from following you. Think of Twitter as an online business card.
- Be authentic: You cannot be all things to all people. Be yourself and engage in the conversations that interest you. Retweet (repeat other people Tweets) things you see on Twitter that you found helpful or intriguing. Act as a filter for your Twitter Followers by participating in conversations that mean something to you and letting the other pass you by. In this way you amplify your interests and muffle the noise created by six million plus people “speaking” all at once.
Don’t be intimidated by Twitter. Jump right in and join the conversation. It can be the biggest social mixer you’ve ever attended, with literally millions of fascinating people waiting, real time, to talk to you. You can follow me on Twitter at @BrandYou. I’m interested in your experiences with Twitter and other social media. I would love to share what I’ve learned with you and I’m looking forward to meeting you there.
There’s no better time to think about change than in the spring, when the world is literally exploding with new possibilities. Just like millions of people everyday, I’m in the process of reinventing or what I like to call reinvesting in myself and helping others do the same. Just like the time honored tradition of spring cleaning, this is the perfect season to spruce up, reevaluate, hone, eliminate and reveal a fresh new picture of ourselves to the world.
As a passionate brand evangelist, buzz marketing and social media strategist, I want to encourage you to join me. Let’s take some time this spring to think about who we are, at our core and then find the best possible words, images, sounds and actions to spread that message to the widest possible audience.
I’m also a writer, an author, a publishing executive and a wife and mother and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I’m excited about the journey ahead and I hope you’ll take it with me.