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Twitter gets interesting

February 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Music to my ears

Music to my ears

Something very interesting has happened in the last few days with Twitter.

Being in marketing, but relatively new to the whole social media thing, I’ve been mostly staying in the background on Twitter — following interesting people. Most of them have been friends and people I met at marketing conferences. Part of it was because I wanted to figure out how to use Twitter for my job, and I couldn’t really see the value of it. Part of it was because I really disliked using Twitter, although now that I’m using TweetDeck it’s at least tolerable.

But what really changed for me was that I started talking about stuff I cared about. I got involved with a few marketing discussions. I threw out a music discussion question that was really bugging me. I stopped trying to start the conversation and just started doing it.

It’s just like how you never find romance till you stop looking for it. Or you can’t play the piano well until you stop thinking about it. There must be something in human nature where others can tell when you’re being desperate instead of genuine; when the real you isn’t coming through.

Now that I’ve put that into words, of course, I’ll start thinking about it again, and it’ll take another 6 months before I can recapture that ingenuity again. But I now know why The Rules of Using Twitter In Marketing are so hard to define and even harder to monetize.

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Categories: Lead generation, Marketing

Social media blurs the lines

February 4, 2009 2 comments

So a few months ago, my company was in talks with a couple of vendors. As we went through the process with them, showing them our software and so forth, our account rep requested my friendship on Facebook.

I normally try to keep my work relationships on LinkedIn, and my personal relationships on Facebook, but I had started a Facebook group for my company the week before, and since we were trying to get visibility in the marketplace, I accepted.

We wound up going with another vendor, but recently I was alerted to a change in my account rep’s Facebook status — and it was a negative comment: “[So-and-so] hates my job.”

The first thing I thought of was that it was a no-no. But it didn’t bother me. I don’t now think my rep is unprofessional. I don’t think the company mistreats their employees. I just thought that my rep shouldn’t have posted that comment to Facebook.

Are we getting to a point where the line between business and personal is now something we have internalized? Is it still important to keep one’s personal life clean from all controversy so it doesn’t affect one’s career? Or are more people like me just looking at tools like Facebook and Google, where the line is blurred, and shrugging their shoulders if something crosses the line?

Don’t do it

February 2, 2009 1 comment
Where is your helmet?

Where is your helmet?

In the new world of Web 2.0 and Twitter and Facebook and Ping.fm, there are about a billion don’ts right now.

Don’t think about getting customers. Don’t think about shaping your corporate message on Twitter. Don’t talk about your products or services. Don’t use the word conversation when using social media.

My job is in marketing, and my job is to attract customers. Our company has to stay in business, and to do that, money has to change hands. And my company, unlike the Pepsis, Fords, and Ciscos of the world, has recently launched in North America, meaning that part of my job is to educate the marketplace on who we are and what we do.

I have heard a lot of don’ts, however. Too many don’ts and not enough do’s.

The do’s I have heard are vague and ethereal: Listen to your customers. Be genuine.

What I’m left with, when faced with what I need to do this year, is the same “traditional” marketing activities I would have tried before Twitter and FriendFeed: Direct mail. Targeted e-mails. Web banners. White papers hosted by third-parties. Tradeshows. Sponsored webinars. Partner marketing.

I believe that the do’s have not changed with the advent of social media. Listening and being genuine work in a marketing 1.0 world; not listening and not being genuine didn’t work 10 years ago either. Only this time around, customers and prospects can figure out immediately if you’re being disingenous. There’s no room to skate on this.

Do the types of activities marketers engage in to attract new customers–especially for products with low market recognition–really so different in the Web 2.0 world? It’s tougher today, sure. But it’s just as tough on Facebook as it is in the print magazines. Thoughts?