Monday, May 24, 2010

Using Social Media: Why Would You Not? -or- How I Taught Stevie Nicks How To Use Twitter

I find it remarkable when I am around professional people, especially people in the sales or business development realm, who do not use social media, and are even a bit hostile to the idea. It makes me ask, "What's really going on here?" I have conversations about this with a couple of associates/friends whose feelings tend to veer toward those of a Luddite, who feel infringed upon and, possibly, personally displaced. This is natural. We are still in that period when many are still processing how they define the parameters within which technology and media and modern culture, etc, may inhabit, within the greater context of their lives. I find that people rest all over the spectrum of possibilities, existentially.

For some, the extent of the interaction with social media is their daily check-up on FaceBook, including the games they happen to play. That's better than those who filled out a page on either FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, et al, and then never went back. I interact with the social media world to a far greater extent than most, particularly people of my age, and older. I get that. It's my job. But, it is also my passion. For others, not so much.

And yet, I wonder about the failure, by some, to get ahead of the curve and identify social media as a necessary component of professional life, a component that will become even more vital.

I made an observation when the internet was just starting out about how important it would be to become one who is "connected". To be unconnected would eventually amount to residing in a kind of third world. So now, not be plugged into social media, especially as a professional, comes across as an obstinate dismissal, as if to say, "I can't be bothered by all of that."

All the while, I'm thinking, "You're not being bothered is getting you passed by."

I guess I'll say this, as I used to say to my dad when he remarked that he did not like fried chicken, "Good! More for me."

I say all of this as someone who is among the converted. I used to pooh pooh FaceBook and Linked-In too, until I got into them. My business partner at Q7 Associates, The Right Rev. Dr. GK Rowe, experienced the same thing. Once I was into FaceBook, I kept urging him to do it, and he would condescendingly close his eyes and dismiss me, outright. "That was until I got into it, " he said, "then it was Balls to the Wall, total buy-in once I saw the possibilities."

That's what I love, the endless, intriguing possibilities. Why, just the other day, I got to teach Stevie Nicks (@RealStevieNicks) how to use twitter. How many people get to say that?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Using Social Media: Remember - Great Content Never Goes Stale

That line about great content appears in an article from Canadian site, Financial Post, and I immediately latched on to it because it speaks to a fundamental truth about content on the net. Great content is timeless and endlessly useful.

But, many entrepreneurs, including the ones at an Ontario conference where a social media consultant was explaining how social media channels can help in the sphere of recruiting talent, are still skittish, fearing a lack of interpersonal interactions will turn potential clients off. Nay nay, the author reminds us:

"Recognizing that many business owners are still shy about Twitter and Facebook, he suggested they look at these new channels as a recruiting tool.

"Social media let you spark conversations with potential employees and promote your business as a great place to work. When you're satisfied with your results, he said, you can tackle more marketing-oriented conversations.

"I found that suggestion sensible, and sensitive to many entrepreneurs' doubts about social media. So I was shocked when some delegates denounced the consultant's proposal. They said people are the most important part of business, and expressed fears that social media will wipe out face-to-face relationships.

"The consultant adroitly responded that social media don't replace anything. Blogging, Web video, Twitter and Facebook help you build new relationships, by promoting and sustaining conversations with the growing numbers of customers who don't read your brochures or prefer interactive media."

The article, by Rick Spence, goes on to tell the story of how a Vancouver entrepreneur, Michael Jagger, founder and CEO of Provident Security, has gained expertise in using social media to advance his business and provide better service to his clients.

"Jagger uses all possible media to promote his company. So he's become an expert at public relations, public speaking, video, blogging and, most recently, Twitter.
He believes in integrated promotion. When asked to make a presentation on security, he has the presentation taped. Edited portions of the speech -- say, talking about new security technology -- may be uploaded to his website and his blog. Then he'll tweet about the videos on Twitter.

"A key advantage of social media is that content posted online may remain there forever -- and great content never goes stale.

"One day last week, Jagger tweeted about "Disabling a burglar alarm."
Clicking the accompanying link took you to Jagger's 2007 blogpost explaining how a clever thief in Kitsilano had broken into an office and disabled the burglar alarm before roving the office stealing computer parts.

Jagger proves you don't have to be a professional writer to maintain an intriguing blog; he just writes about what he knows, using an even, "just the facts" tone reminiscent of Dragnet."

Spence's closing thoughts should be embraced by all who want to move in the direction of Jagger, et al.

"Social media don't replace relationships or marketing practices that are working for you. Social media provide new channels for getting your message out.

"But before you can reap any of these benefits, you have to lower your natural defensive shields against new tools with silly names."

Image by Sylvar

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Indianapolis Social Media Breakfast

I am attending the Indianapolis Social Media Breakfast in the morning. The subject of this breakfast, "Using Social Media in the Travel, Tourism and Attraction Industries", should be interesting. I'll be giving a full report tomorrow.