Posts Tagged social media

In Defense of Ghost-Tweeting… with Caveats

Friday’s PR Week features an op-ed by Amy Dean titled “Five reasons why ghost Tweeting will come back to haunt you” [subscription required]. Dean makes a reasonable case against letting someone else use Twitter to speak for you and your brand: it’s misleading to customers, it destroys credibility with reporters, and it can cause you to lose followers in an instant.

But the heart of the issue is here:

Twitter is a new opportunity to have an engaging, ongoing dialogue with customers that breeds collaboration that leads to enhanced customer satisfaction. But that can only happen if there is an honest exchange.

There are lots of reasons it makes sense to put someone else in charge of maintaining your presence online – a ghost-tweeter may have more social media expertise than you do, an especially engaging writing style, or the superb organizational skills it takes to maintain a dialogue with your followers. This is certainly not a case for lying – if you’re going to have someone else tweet on your behalf, you’d better be ready to be completely transparent about that (see @RyanSeacrest for a great demonstration of transparency).

But the biggest drawback of bringing on a ghost-tweeter is that you’re depriving yourself of the benefits of one-on-one interaction with your audience, especially the opportunities you can discover and the business insight you can glean from those conversations. One of the most exciting aspects of social media is that it allows brands to remove a layer of mediation and affect consumers more personally. The more you’re able to participate personally, the more you’ll get out of it.

Besides, it can be quite a kick just to be yourself on Twitter. Who could have adequately imitated Shaq‘s reaction to experiencing a hailstorm for the first time?

shaqtweet

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Social Media Doesn’t Influence My Buying Decisions. I Swear.

Over the weekend, from InformationWeek:

Practical Analysis: Social Networks Get Low Marks As Sources Of IT Info

Art Wittman cheerfully reports:

In a series of questions, we asked where you get your information and what you think of those sources, including vendor Web sites, IT trade magazines, business magazines and newspapers, E-mail newsletters, broad business tech sites (such as Information Week.com), focused tech sites (such as IntelligentEnterprise.com), analyst sites, virtual trade shows and Webinars, social networks (such as LinkedIn and Facebook), tech bloggers, and Twitter.

We used a five-point scale to gauge your opinion of relevance, reliability, timeliness, and bias for each as they relate to your work. Top responses varied a bit from question to question, but typically your top sources of information include broad IT Web sites, IT trade magazines, business news sites, and analyst sites. The bottom three responses were much more consistent: tech bloggers, social networks, and Twitter, with Twitter ranking by far the lowest in a number of categories.

As most scholars know, it’s never quite as precise to rely on people to report on their own behavior as it is to actually observe their actions. Asking people to report on the causes of their own behavior seems like an even less useful research method. Humans are motivated by a collection of often impractical and sometimes downright ridiculous set of factors… and few people have the self-insight – not to mention the humility – to accurately explain why they do the things they do. When presented with a respectable, logical, serious-looking set of alternative options (“IT trade magazines!” or “Business news sites!”), what kind of IT executive would claim that they are more influenced by their online friends and acquaintances, or by the frequency of a brand name on social networks? It sounds so irrational. And yet… most serious research on buying decisions reveals that what drives them is irrational. Purchases are made with emotion, and justified with logic.

To really start to study the influence of social media on IT buying decisions, you need to compare IT pros’ exposure to social media mentions of a company with their eventual purchases. The correlation may be small, or it may be large; but it will certainly be more informative than collecting buyers’ own self-psychoanalyses and reporting them as fact.

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On the Hunt with Social Media

Many people have been touting the great benefits of social media recently as a means to network, grow your business, or market your products/services (myself included); but the current economic crisis is highlighting where all this effort can really pay off – in the job hunt.  It’s important to note that most job leads come from good connections and social media… the old adage has never been more true, the best jobs are never advertised.  A recent article in ComputerWorld, Job Hunting? Use social networks to make crucial connections, by David Ramel, stresses the importance of using social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to network and make new connections.

Social media tools can be highly beneficial, if you know where to look.  For instance, yesterday @BostonTweet tweeted asking if anyone was graduating and looking for a job in the Boston area on Twitter.  With such a large following, @BostonTweet was able to retweet replies and get more coverage than people would have normally gotten had they just tweeted to their own followers.

@bostontweet - job hunt

Social media sites are also a great way to market yourself to potential employers.  Creating a twitback for your Twitter account allows you to provide a brief bio and links to your website, company, or blog, along with more detailed contact info.  LinkedIn allows you to show off basically your entire resume while joining relevant groups for your area of interest – on these groups, you can then post job queries, etc. to help get your name out there.  Hint: responding to other queries also helps!  Facebook is also in this same vein, but also lets you search for company profiles (as does LinkedIn – though Facebook may give you more of a feel for the work environment – check out March on Facebook).

Though these all sound like great outlets to get moving with your job hunt, David Ramel also gives some advice on what not to do:

10donts-for-job-hunters1

Social media, when used smartly, can be a great tool!

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Social Media Success Summit 2009

The Social Media Success Summit 2009 is a live online event starting Tuesday May 26th focusing on how to use social media to attract new customers and grow your business during the current economic downturn.  Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can provide great exposure, site traffic, partnership opportunities, and new business leads.

Social Media Success Summit

Summit instructors will include social media superstar Gary Vaynerchuk, professional blogger Darren Rowse, Facebook business authority Mari Smith, LinkedIn authority Jason Alba, chief content officer for MarketingProfs Ann Handley, Copyblogger founder Brian Clark, Authority Blogger founder Chris Garrett, The Blog Squad co-founder Denise Wakeman, and Writing White Papers author Michael A. Stelzner – all of whom have made great strides with social media campaigns and networking.

With the growing importance of social media, a how-to session with experts such as these, might not be a bad idea – even if you think you already know all the techniques to leverage tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

LinkedInThe explosion of social media has been astounding – Facebook has grown so much that if it were a country, it’d be the eighth largest in the world!  Seems like social media is an important bandwagon to jump on, if you’re not already connected. And the current economic climate is just one more reason to get on board since social media is free and extremely effective for growing your business.

Though the Social Media Success Summit is a bit pricey ($297 until May 14th, $497 normally), the price of not understanding how to leverage social media tools and tactics is significantly higher.

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Twitter While You Drive?

onstar_twitter 

Image courtesty of Jalopnik.com

Several outlets are reporting that General Motors and Twitter are exploring partnership options that would integrate Twitter with GM’s OnStar system.

Technically, this is brilliant.  For many reasons.  Firstly, voice-to-text technology, like Microsoft’s SYNC (which has been available in Ford vehicles for some time now), is nothing new, but it took until fairly recently to get it to work properly.  So in terms of high-tech, if this is going to be able to translate speech onto a web-based application, we are right there.

Secondly, GM, if you haven’t heard, is in something of a bad way these days.  So tying themselves to something as popular and ubiquitous as Twitter may well help with brand recognition, and may even help sell a few more portly Escalades.

Thirdly, Twitter itself is quite excellent as a social media tool.  Capable, possibly, of having a new journalism format grow from it. We’ll even be launching a new section of PR Nonense to help guide newcomers through the process of gettinga active in the world of social media, and will include some great tools to help get started with Twitter.

GM’s OnStar system would allow Twitter users to update their “what are you doing,” sections simply by pressing the button and talking.  No doubt there are some kinks to be worked out as, with only a limited number of characters allowed for each tweet, pronunciation-to-spelling accuracy would become essential:

You want to say: “Goin 2 the Sox game 2nite. Beckett’s hurlin Ks”

But you tweet: “Going to the socks game tonight. Becketts her linkays”

What is a linkay?

So, beyond the obvious reasons of accuracy in what a person is trying to say, the system appears to be quite simple to use. But I wonder – should we consider driving-while-tweeting a social media “do” or a “don’t?”

I have to admit, as one of those people who likes cars and enjoys driving (wait, why are you all backing away slowly?), my first thought was that this might be just one step too far.  I mean, technically, it’s hands-free, so no state or potential federal law would prohibit use of the service while driving.   Most of us can still legally talk on our phones while driving, and most of us still do.  Myself included. But I try to avoid it, and lots of people would tell you to do the same.

So, I can’t help but think that this might be another unecessary distraction from the more-immediately important job at hand.

It kind of reminds me of Scene 34 from the timeless classic Monty Python and The Holy Grail when the knights find Joseph of Aremathea’s writings on the cave wall:

KNIGHT:  What does it say?
  MAYNARD:  It reads, ‘Here may be found the last words of Joseph of
      Aramathea.  He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail
      in the Castle of uuggggggh’.
  ARTHUR:  What?
  MAYNARD: ‘… the Castle of uuggggggh’.
  BEDEMIR:  What is that?
  MAYNARD:  He must have died while carving it.
  LAUNCELOT:  Oh, come on!
  MAYNARD:  Well, that’s what it says.
  ARTHUR:  Look, if he was dying, he wouldn’t bother to carve ‘aaggggh’.
      He’d just say it!
  MAYNARD:  Well, that’s what’s carved in the rock!
  GALAHAD:  Perhaps he was dictating.

Perhaps he was. What do you think?  To tweet-while-you drive, or not to tweet-while-you-drive?

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Baby Boomers and Social Media

Social media is huge today—it seems everyone is using it for everything.

However, it is assumed Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964) do not use social media. As advertisers and PR professionals have begun using social media as an outlet, it has become a concern, and even problematic to these professionals—how can a message reach this demographic?

No more worrying… a new study came out; stating that Baby Boomers are the fastest growing users of social media—more so than Generation Y. The Baby Boomers are using sites like Facebook and Twitter, reading blogs and listening to podcasts. Within the last year there was a major increase of usage, below is a chart which outlines the adoption of services by each generation.

baby-boomers

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Tool Academy

So you’ve got your head around an integrated social media strategy… now what?

As a necessary caveat – we don’t condone starting to ‘do’ social media based on which tools everyone’s talking about (also known as the “we’ve gotta get on that Twitter!” mentality). With that said, it can be daunting to approach the practical aspects, how-tos, dos and don’ts of using specific media.

Soon we’ll be launching an area on PR Nonsense that keeps track of these particulars of using and intelligently reaping the benefit of social media tools – the elements that come after social media strategy. Of course, this is a resource that can never be complete, so to speak. Considering the pace of growth and change in this area, both the best tools for your objectives and the best practices surrounding them are a constantly moving target. So we’ll be collecting and featuring, on an ongoing basis, the best resources and hands-on tool guides we can find.

As we begin to compile these resources, what are some you’d recommend? The more current and specific, the better. General websites and blogs about social media are great, but an article titled “16 Ways YouTube Won’t Help You Grow Your Business” is better.*

Here’s a good starting point for getting familiar with the tools we’re talking about: Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism (the latest version of the prism can be viewed here). This is a consistently updated graphical representation of social media tools by category, useful for comparing tools within each category, but brilliant for exploring the purpose of one type of tool versus another.

* This article has never been written, to our knowledge, but it certainly ought to be!

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