Social Media is not about the Conversation

I Tweeted this week that social media is not about the conversation?

It had a few retweets and I thought I would post them here.

lakey

‘The C-Word’ RT @lyndoman: If anyone says “it’s about the conversation” at a social media conference, throw a sticky bun at them.

Friday, November 16, 2012 9:59:17 AM

SceptreSocial

RT @lyndoman: If anyone says “it’s about the conversation” at a social media conference, throw a sticky bun at them.

Friday, November 16, 2012 10:03:01 AM

AutomotivePR

RT @SceptreSocial: RT @lyndoman: If anyone says “it’s about the conversation” at a social media conference, throw a sticky bun at them.

Friday, November 16, 2012 10:03:23 AM

au_tom_otive

RT @SceptreSocial: RT @lyndoman: If anyone says “it’s about the conversation” at a social media conference, throw a sticky bun at them.

Friday, November 16, 2012 10:03:24 AM

alastairWMW

RT @AutomotivePR: RT @SceptreSocial: RT @lyndoman: If anyone says “it’s about the conversation” at a social media conference, throw a sticky bun at them.

Friday, November 16, 2012 10:30:22 AM

But am I not having a conversation right now and isn’t that a good thing?

Yes it is, but that is not what social media is about.

The “conversation” is a stepping stone, a communication tool that we use to get to our real objective.

I hear you say, “but the social media gurus say it’s all about the conversation.” Some do, but you will find that their real objective, the stuff that gets them out of bed an put on their Star Trek boxer shorts is selling their books, conference talks, advertising on their sites.

The conversation is simply the tool they power up to fund their collection of Sci Fi boxer shorts.

What social media is really about is persuasion, it’s about communicating a message that gets you to do stuff. The social media gurus are experts at getting you to do stuff and using the tool of conversation to promote that.

Nothing wrong with that, we all use various communication tools to persuade people to do what we want. You could say that a pair of very tight jeans is a communication tool design to persuade people to look at the wearer in a particular way.

Yes this is pushing the envelope a little. But communication is all around us, most of it designed to persuade. Even if it is to get you to press a button on a microwave when your Chunky Chile Chicken is done, just with a ping.

The ping on a microwave as a tool of persuasive communication?

Is that taking it too far?

Most Common Mistake of Businesses using Facebook Pages

It’s much more useful if a companies Facebook page is about the benefits of customers using the service, than about what is happening at the company, for example, “We have just had the walls painted a very interesting magnolia colour here at Donotgetit Design ltd…..”

It may be very important for you to give out this information, but it’s incredibly boring for any reader or follower. This is the biggest mistake I see when a business is updating their Facebook page.

It’s as if the boss has decided that the Facebook Page should be used as some kind of corporate newsletter, detailing the minutiae of everything the company does.

People don’t care about you or your business, they only care about what you can do for them.

Pinterest, C'mon Guys Get a Grip

Look, before you start running around the place with your knickers on your head screaming about how Pinterest is going to solve all online marketing problems known to mankind, I suggest you take a deep breath and consider a few things.

Maybe it’s the young, cool and froody crowd over at Mashmumble who are whipping up the frenzy over what is a generic system like Pinterest.

Pinterest is fantastic if your niche is visually stimulating, such as cat calenders, kitchen taps, motorbike paintwork, bathroom tiles etc. And I have a few friends who are really working Pinterest to their own advantage who happen to be in these niches. I myself have, ahem, a few accounts that focus on certain niches.

As far as I can see, it has the same flavour as Stumbleupon, Flickr etc. of course it’s not exactly the same. But if you found that these types of systems did not work for you in the past, I doubt it’s worth a look in.

There is no social media system which everyone should be a member of. I am a member of all I can be, but then this is my job. I can’t advise clients if I don’t join and try to game these systems to my own advantage.

6 months ago, G+ was the next big thing, as far as I can tell it’s definitely not. It shows some interesting aspects, but it’s not captured enough critical mass for it to be a Facebook killer.

If there are two social media systems to use it’s Twitter and Facebook. But they are no longer new and exciting and so maybe not worth the Maserati raving about them. Twitter and Facebook are established enough to easily work out if they are for you. With Pinterest, unless you are a social media professional or a middle aged women making cupcakes, I would look at all the social media systems that are on offer and chose the one that benefits you the most.

+1 Button

I have not yet put the +1 Google goodness button on my site. But, I think it’s definitely worth it. Although there have been rumblings that a + 1 is going to influence SERPS, I wouldn’t get too excited as I haven’t seen anywhere that says it happens when you are logged out.

My advice, let the first movers expend time and resources on figuring out if G + is worth it, then simply modify accordingly. If you are a business you really do not have to worry about G+ or G+1 or whatever it’s called.

Some commentators are hooked on change, rather than efficiency or adapting to the environment. This is the nature of the new social media landscape. Every few months a new network/website comes out and has people running around as if robotic cockroaches are in their pants nibbling at their bits screaming, “we must change now or we get left behind”.

I think I understand where this thinking comes from when looking at places like Myspace and others and noting how they were not developed. Facebook and Twitter (old web 2.0 media) continue to innovate and develop, therefore it’s a different landscape.

I don’t use FB much, but have found Twitter extremely useful following #hackgate #notw, as all journalists and most politicians Tweet. As far as I can tell they will continue to do so. Their thinking seems to be along the lines of, “Twitter does what we need it to do, why change?”

I look at the feed in G+ and it’s mostly a river of garbage. LOLcats, music videos, the odd politico rant against socialism. You may like such stuff, but my focus is elsewhere on more serious stuff.

Sure I can spend time organising my feed into different circles and stuff, and make sure I only get stuff from people I want. The thing is, in real life when you organise something you don’t expect to have to reorganise a few months later and this is exactly what will happen.

But, some people love to organise and move avatars of friends into and out of boxes and good luck to them. These types of people probably find comfort from the harsh world in doing such inefficient tasks.

And anyway, you can just hire these people for very little money to go build a +1 empire. For what little good it’s going to do.

You can’t automate the social process, it has to be organic.

It’s not a better system you need. It’s better implementation.

Feeling like crap from a bad cold, which may make this post more rambly than usual.

What will +1 result in for small business

Not Really a Top Ten Tips on How to Make Money Online with G+

I remember when Twitter started and I was following/being followed by about 200-300. The signal to noise ratio was very high. Because you couldn’t add pictures/video/music into the stream there was little distraction.

Things were focussed on the the business of SEO and Social Media Manipulation. All good stuff. Of course the “drinking coffee” Tweets started to seep in and things increasingly got tedious and banal.

But then an interesting thing happened to Twitter, normal people started to join it. The BBC and other mainstream media organisations came to the party. And it became a powerful tool for a marketer.

Looking at my G+ stream right now, there are pictures of cars, funny videos, reviews on TV shows and so forth. Very little of what I really want, which is SEO and social media and other media stuff. Now, you could say just create a circle and blah blah blah. Problem is, it’s not the people I need to separate, it’s the topics of the posts.

I am sure there are people have a lot of time on their hands to be able to tweak and learn a new social media system. I’m trying to be polite about this, but there seems to be a lot of “look at me I’m a first mover” kinda business going on.

If your business is built around telling me what social media tool to use in exchange for piles of cash, then it makes a lot of sense to be here.

But, I look at my stream in G+ and just see a bunch of distraction and just like Twitter can be, it’s a bit banal, a bit childish and a bit crap. Sorry if this offends, but my job is to write what I think, not to give borderline personality types the warm fuzzies.

I have my Google Reader, I have Twitter, I have Facebook, I have Google Alerts, I have Linked in, I have email. I very much doubt I will miss something if I don’t squat on G+ as client work ends up being late (as it mostly does, but that’s another story).

There is a big bag of reason to be on G+ and check it out. But if it does not fit my strategy it ends up being a big bag of wank. I think there are reasons to keep tabs on the system as these things tend to morph into something that wasn’t initially expected. But the idea of sitting here, eating carrot cake and ingesting the stream of G+ leaves me a bit queasy. Much better to go and read my copy of the Guardian which I bought in a pique of righteous indignation whilst tutting at the piles of unsold copies of the Sun.

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+ 1 button marketing

Will Google +1 Result in the End of Small Business Online?

It’s very simple.

Either Google +1 will affect the search engine results or it will not.

What if it does?

Will the frenetic dash that Digital Media Agencies mean that they then resell their networks to Corporate big gits to help crush the small independent, just as they have on the high street?

A little emotive perhaps.

But what does Google say?

When your ad is shared, Google notes its final landing page URL. When the same URL appears in an organic search listing, the organic listing will include the same personal annotations as would an ad.

Similarly, if a user +1′s one of your organic listings, ads with the same final landing page URL will include the same personal annotations, increasing the chance of your ads getting noticed.

+1′s (whatever their source — organic search, ads, or +1 buttons on publisher sites) is a signal that affects organic search ranking, but +1′s do not change quality scores for ads and ad ranking

How will the +1 button affect my organic search listings?

I had to read it a few times before it sunk in.

Rankings are not going to be affected. It’s just that some hairy seo/social-media-manipulator is going to have their mug next to the search results. As long as you are logged into Google and you circle/follow/adore the hairy seo/social-media-manipulator who has taken the valuable seconds of his existence to +1 it.

My point is this. Is the potential buyer of a cordless power drill, when searching for a Makita 18v going to see and then be influenced by the hairy seo/social-media-manipulator? Or is it going to only other hairy seo/social-media-manipulators who see the results.

I think the latter.

As a commercial persuasion proposition, the Google +1 button will be mostly worthless. The majority of the human effort going into the +1 will stay in the goldfish bowl which the hairy seo/social-media-manipulator lives.

Sometimes the hairy seo/social-media-manipulator does stuff not because it’s going to be of great benefit to the client, but because they have something to sell and the I-don’t-want-to-be-left-behind part of the brain gets excited.

People mistake influence in the hairy seo/social-media-manipulator bubble with an increase in wealth.

I’m not anti social media/social signals/crowd sourcing etc. far from it. But, most of what you hear about it these days is garbage, people need to sell books, fill conferences and get endorsed by the latest over invested fad and so desire has to be created.

It’s as if a food is being sold to hungry people which only increases their hunger.

Stop eating the empty calories.

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+ 1 button marketing

The Best Blog Post on Google +1 you will ever read

I hate to say this, I really do. But Google +1 will fail.

I don’t think this because I have done an in depth analysis of it’s features and tested it for the last 6 months it’s more instinctive, so take that for what it’s worth. My thinking is based on the following.

  • Google does search very well, social is a different thing entirely
  • Google isn’t hungry, failure will not move the share price or cause a significant bump in revenues
  • Google can buy Twitter whenever it realises it can’t do social, so why try too hard
  • Sheds of sock puppets are on standby to manipulate the system
  • There is no void for Google + 1 to fill, we can already do what it offers and are embedded in other networks
  • Social networks are powered by fundamental forces like sex, money, social approbation etc. I don’t see any of these primal forces being sated in the current features

There are a few more reasons I will save for the email list.

I hate saying all this because Google could have done it, they left it too late. I remember saying back in 2007 they should do something like this.

They have spent too much of the evening working on their PhD papers and turned up at the party with a bottle of Peach Schnapps wondering why the hot chicks have already left the party.

The other reason of course is that Google search is very, very good and it would be hard to improve it. Google Search and it’s commercial cousin Adwords are truly the works of genius. Which is why it feels awkward watching people get excited over this.

Ah well, gives SEO bloggers something to write about.

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Social Media is about Influence not Relationships

I have a shelf full of overpriced books on social media. I say overpriced as most are just rehashed blog posts.

And most of them bang on about “relationships”, or “it’s all about the conversation”. As if yammering away about anything and everything and connecting with everyone and her dog is all you have to do.

Well that thinking is just a big bag of wrong.

Because, “IT” is not about the conversation, “IT”, is about influence or persuasion.

Sure, the conversation or having a rip roaring relationship that transcends all other relationships ever had in the history of humanity is something which social media does very well.

But, that is not the point.

It is NOT the goal.

The goal, is for people to be influenced into making a specific action.

For example:

  • Think positively about your brand
  • Buy more of your stuff
  • Hire you for a killer job
  • Make love to you in a Ford Cortina

And before you climb up to the pulpit to proclaim sex has nothing to do with social media or influence or persuasion. You may want to look at the fundamental nature of human beings.

I thought about this as Tina Jonasen questioned me on twitter.

@lyndoman Just wondering; you say you are a “Link Builder”, but follows nobody? Maybe I´m confused between Link- & RelationshipBuilder !?

Which is an interesting question.

Humans are those who link, therefore relationships are very useful. I tweeted back a few thoughts.

@ThinkInNewAreas A link can be a result of a human relationship built on following someone on Twitter but it’s not an effective or efficient

@ThinkInNewAreas The, “shall I link to this webpage” thought process only sometimes has a “does this person follow me on twitter” component

@ThinkInNewAreas Also, I want to suggest, it’s not about “relationships”, it’s about influence. Relationship is merely a stepping stone.

I think people get wrapped up too easily in the “relationship” part of social media. Which is perfectly understandable, but you have to step back and ask, “what am I doing here?”

“What is my social media strategy?”

It will stop you building relationships with the wrong people or spending all morning trading pictures of kittens who look like members of the Royal family.

Not following anyone on Twitter is a very interesting thing to do, as it removes a sedentary proclivity (natural urge to sit on your arse and be spoon fed information) and go on the hunt for useful bits of info.

It also highlights a few other things, which I may talk about later.

Getting Ruthless with Information Overload

This may be hard for some to understand.

But, I am going to stop following everyone on my main Twitter account.

There are a number of reasons for this and a number of advantages.

Of course there will be some disadvantages

  • Some people will get the hump and stop following me
  • I might miss out on a tasty morsel of info
  • I get behind in SEO gossip

I don’t mind if some people stop following me, as I will be using my Twitter account other than to get people to follow me on Twitter. As I have numerous searches and lists running on Tweetdeck I can still be plugged in to needed information whilst reducing distraction.

I use RSS feeds a lot and use Reader on my iPhone to make sure I get enough tasty morsels to keep me fed.

SEO gossip, doesn’t pay the rent and it can seriously suck up time.

I think I joined Twitter back in 2007, and to keep using it in the same way I used it then is nuts, because my business model has changed. And so the way I use Twitter must also change. I now run a large team of link builders and offer a specific link building service to clients which takes up a lot of time.

Distraction is a big problem for me and I score high on ADD tests, so I have to work hard to reduce the possible distractions and get RUTHLESS.

As tweeting is no longer something I need to cultivate to generate new business or do a spot of brand building, it diminishes in its ability to justify itself in the current form I use it.

So, I am going to dump all followers and use it in a more focussed form, which will probably be more conversational and reach out to new networks and new people.

I would only advise others to do this if it fits with your business model.

My tweets will be ripe and full of juice and if you are in the business of SEO, online marketing, social media etc. It will still be worthwhile to follow me.

But if not, no probs.

After all, it’s only business ;)

ps. If you think it feels like you work for Twitter, rather than getting Twitter to work for you, you may want to have a long, ruthless, think about this.