What is Social Media :Part 3

This is an unplanned and off the cuff series I am doing regarding Social Media and its definition, which is still in a state of flux. Part 1 and 2

It’s all about the conversation.

Not the product, not the service, and certainly not how wonderful you are.

What do you think a good conversation is? One person talking all about themselves, or trying to sell you something or being obnoxious and wafting offensive odours at you?

Good conversation flows, it’s owned by the two or more parties involved in it.

It is not where you announce something. That is not what a conversation is and that is why a lot of PR professionals have difficulty in making it work for them.

What I have learned over the years is that to be a successful social media marketing practitioner, you have go visit the tribe, sit down with them, talk their language, follow their customs and after a period of time become one of them. Then you can tell them about the cave over the next hill which is selling all kinds of goodies.

Empathy, understanding, experience, knowledge, all prerequisites if you are to converse with the tribe. And let me tell you, conversing is not a right, it is an honour. Bestowed upon you after dues have been paid.

Sitting down and breaking bread with a Chili Dorito munching, coke guzzling, Warcraft playing, Linux using inhabitant of certain social bookmarking sites is really beyond the reach of the expensively manicured fingers of the PR hustler, and that’s just the men.

Unless they become one of the them, at least for a short period.

Of course the interesting thing is the real players in the social media marketing industry have come from the SEO world.

Who else is going to empathise with a 2 hour discussion of light sabre techniques.

Eva Green Social Media Magic

Eva Green Will See You Now

So says the latest cover of GQ. Personally I prefer Esquire. I can’t imagine ever reading the likes of Nuts and Zoo, but someone must.

Back to GQ, the front cover headlines reads:
Beyond Bond
Eva Green
Will see you now

20 + pages
of
Red-Hot
New
Looks
for
Spring/
Summer

Standoff
in the
Triangle
of Death

How Long Can
Iraq’s Fragile
Peace Endure?

Box Fresh
Why Mad Men
Is The Most
Stylish
Show on TV

2009’s Hottest Girls – Rebbecca Hall – Odette Yustman – Isla Fisher

There we have it, all the headlines on the front page.

They reflect the culture and interests of the targeted reader. The headlines are aspirational, the subtext being, “buy this and announce that you want an Eva Green type as your girlfriend”.

Sophisticated sexuality for the man who never has to try too hard.

Before we go any further, are you thinking of how to create headlines with similar effectiveness, I hope so.

GQ is for the metrosexual, and so includes 20 pages of fashion tips to help men become more pretty. It’s interesting as it’s hard to read these headlines whilst being completely objective, which we must be for the sake of good analysis. But these headlines are crafted to be emotional, to make it impossible not to have an opinion.

The “Iraq”, headline for example, the wording is framed to present a specific viewpoint, even though it’s in a question. It presumes the Iraqi peace is fragile or at least the reader believes it to be and that’s the point. Those with similar opinions are attracted to the magazine by association.

By making it into a question it allows those of differing views to join into the discussion, or to be part of the conversation.

As we well know, social media is all about the conversation.

There is that awful phrase, “conversation marketing”. It’s nothing new, my Grandmother’s butcher used to use it when she popped in for half a pound of scrag end.

But lets keep it on social media.

Don’t sell the product, start the conversation.

Easy for me, as I love to talk, often too much.

Here is the point of this post for those who have yet to get it.

Popular magazines are masters at starting the conversation.

Think of these headlines as Twitter posts, or headlines on digg. Some work, some do not. But, look at your social media efforts and consider creating more conversation starters than mere announcements.

You never know, you may end up with Eva Green.

Ryan Air and How Not to do Reputation Management

You may have heard what Ryan Air, the no frills budget airline have been saying about bloggers lately. If not you can get up to speed here and here

I wont overlap as the information is already at those sites, but look at what the Times had on their website.

Ryanair has confirmed that one its staff abused a blogger who questionned the airline site’s credentials.

But far from apologising for the volley of abuse, Ryanair today dismissed bloggers as “lunatics” and “idiots.”

My first thoughts are, who does their SEO and who does their reputation management? I hope it’s not a pal. But by the sounds of things, they don’t seem to rate Online very highly. They have a strong enough brand to get a lot of business over the phone and as we know, any publicity is good publicity. Maybe they think they don’t need it.

But this stuff is now going to show up in Google when you search for “Ryan Air”, what makes it crazy is that is was so easy not to happen in the first place.

Who does the seo for Ryan Air? I would love to hear what they really think of the client. I wonder if they are sobbing into their alt tags this very moment.

Actually I just did a search for, “Who does the seo for Ryan Air”, and a post from David Naylor came up, lol, Ryanair gets bad Twitter press

By the way, if any airline would like to hire a social media marketer, gimme a call. ;)

How to Get More Followers on Twitter

Easy, get a mention in the Sunday Times.

Just like Nikki Pilkington did.

  • People get to know you exist.
  • People think you know what you are talking about
  • People talk about you
  • People link to you
  • People pass around your Twitter profile

Just like I did with this post.

You can find Nikki Pilkington here and on Twitter here.

I used her name as anchor text to link to the Times article so when people search for her they will find the article. She probably already ranks for her name so doesn’t need the juice.

btw, you can follow me here

What is social media?

Simply;

It is a form of communication.

It’s important to think of it in such fundemental, simple terms. Because, when we do this, new ideas and thoughts emerge.

So when a client tells me, “why should I use social media?”. My answer is, “why should you communicate?”

Why communicate?

It’s a question a lot of people and businesses seem to forget in the rush to blog-twitter-digg-facebook-bebo etc.

Lets take it a bit further.

  • What do you want to communicate?
  • Who do you want to communicate to?
  • Is your communication time sensitive?
  • What defines your communication as success?

These are the questions you should be asking before you even think about social media.

For example, is a front page digg really the best thing to add to your online marketing mix right now?

When you address things from a more theoretical aspect, alternative opportunities arise.