I have read countless blog post and news articles by the so called “experts” of social media telling me what social media is and how it should be use. I know, I know I am going to be a hypocrite right now but I swear you’ll appreciate it.
Ok, so a few months ago I was starting out in the new social media world. I was a kid in a candy shop, all these wonderful toys to play with and no one to tell me how to use them. I first started out using Facebook, connecting with friends and reconnecting with old friends. From there I stumbled upon LinkedIn and reconnected with old colleagues. Later, I moved onto the wonderful world of Twitter. I now write my own blog, albeit about nothing.
Starting out, I purposely didn’t read any articles just so I could have an untainted experience in social media. It seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion about social media. This person says you have to do this. This person says you have to do that. How can you put rules and guidelines on something that is social? Isn’t that the point of all of this? We the user makes social media what we want it to be. I have all the control on what I want my social media experience to be. I have experienced different social media tools and decided what I wanted to get out of them. Some I like and some I don’t but the point is that it’s all up to me. Oh and I forgot one really big piece of advice. “Have fun” in social media. If you are not having fun it becomes work then you won’t get any enjoyment out of being part of this brand new medium. Also, remember it’s an experiment. You are out there trying new things and gaining new insights.
For more on getting started see my previous blog post about integrated marketing (I know shameless plug).
Brands and Social Media:
So how do you take what you have learned and apply it to brands/clients/marketers? In gaining your own experiences in social media you can help guide your clients in this brave new world. What I wrote above can be thrown out the window when it comes to brands and social media. Brands do need to think about how to use the social media tools. What voice should the client have in interacting with people? What should they say? How should they say it? Does every company need to use social media? Let’s use the current Twitter debate as an example shall we:
One interesting debate that is raging right now is whether or not Brands should use Twitter. I ask, why shouldn’t brands use Twitter? If a brand is truly engaging with their customers who’s to stop them, especially if the customers follow and engage them back. Using Twitter is still in it’s infancy stages, marketers are still trying to figure out how it can benefit their business. If a brand actually engages with their fan base as opposed to trying to sell them they will have a better experience with Twitter.
Personally, I follow a number of brands on Twitter. Some get it and some don’t. I see brands post price points and offers while others actually try and engage their followers. That’s the real key. People don’t want to be sold to. People like to feel like they have a voice and business’s that engage allow those people to have that voice.
The Twitter debate is really the key in all of this. How does a brand/client/marketer use social media? The answer? It is all an experiment. It’s trial and error. What works for one brand may not work for another.
I told you in the beginning that I was going to be a hypocrite didn’t I. That said, I think what I said has value. Don’t let others influence your experience (like me:). Go in and explore this new world, it’s not going away. This will help you in guiding your clients in the social media world.
One more thing. I am not a social medai expert. I am a user of social media trying to help other newbies.