Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

The Social Journey

February 8th

In a recent Harvard Business Review Press blog on social media “Kenneth Cole’s social media lesson”, Alexandra Samuel relates the story of a marketer placing a “hash tag” #Cairo on a twitter message about the spring line. The Caution is a valuable one because she talks about something that’s very important and not often noted, for understandable reasons.

For the purpose of leveling the playing field and including anyone who has not yet started using Twitter, the hash tag is a way of labeling a comment so that it fits into a theme. As Alexandra Samuel points out.

Marketers need to recognize that a social media presence is not a billboard: it’s not an empty space that you can buy and slap your message on. When you engage in a social media campaign, you’re joining a conversation — or in Cole’s case, crashing a party to which you have not been invited.

She offers some useful analogies,

Imagine walking into a cocktail party, pushing yourself into a knot of people talking about their Christmas plans, and abruptly changing the subject to SUV models. Or more accurately, imagine walking into an AA meeting, and interrupting someone’s recovery story with an announcement about your upcoming sofa sale. Or worse yet, imagine joining the AA group, spending three months pretending to be an alcoholic, and then pitching the rest of your group on your Amway products. Classy, right?

But in a boundaryless world you almost have to feel sorry for those who blunder over the line. After all when does the personal versus professional versus citizen persona begin and end?

If the tweet is coming from someone waiting in a busy line at the local Whole Foods its going to appear to be just the same as if it came from someone sitting at a desk or in a Congressional hearing. So of course people blunder. Who wouldn’t?

And there is William Hurt’s great line in Broadcast News when he confronts Holly Hunter in the Baltimore Airport while she is destroying their planned trip to the Caribbean and their relationship over his ethical lapse. Where is line he demands? “they keep moving the sucker.”

Not that Kenneth Cole should not have known. But its an interesting road sign on our current path.

The Socialization of Social Networks

January 20th

Perhaps its the movie The Social Network, perhaps something else that’s going on in the marketplace, but it’s not hard to to encounter a conversation about Facebook and Linked in and other networks these days.

Many adults (who don’t use Facebook much) are worried about the way that barriers between private lives and work lives are being broken down. Others are worried about the very real issues of privacy and Internet security. Some lament the way in which lives are being changed by electronic media (there is a temptation at this point to ask whether that’s not locking the barn door.)

But the undeniable conclusion of these conversations is that the social networks and social media are being socialized and its just a matter of time for this rear guard. Marketing campaigns, corporate communication campaigns, supplier relationship management, customer service, customer experience management – there are a very long list of commercial best practices in communications that are already being challenged by the existence of social media. “See us on Facebook and Twitter” is a common corporate marketing statement these days.

Last June at the Nielson media conference Sheryl Sandberg (of Facebook) talked about the “End of Email”.  Now it may be more faithful to her pitch to say that she was arguing that using Facebook where relationships are more “authentic” and far easier to reach was a more effective way of advertising than email.

So through one path or another I have been left to think about the future of social media and the role that these networks will play in strategic communications in the future.

And this inevitably raises the question of whether social media really will be authentic or at least whether communications will necessarily come from authentic people.  If a company is using social media to manage relationships (with employees, customers etc.) why stop there?  Can’t the network itself anticipate who should be in the conversation?  Why not have the platform monitor the nature of the content?  They do already.  Why not use this knowledge to shape the conversation?  The makings of a novel, for sure…