Social Media Tools — are just “tools,” not the all-important-strategies

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Part 3: Putting the PUBLIC Back in Public Relations

Add air to molten glass

Add air to molten glass

If you think about the title of this post, I hope you’ll get the message that even though it’s the SM platforms, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, etc. that get the “Buzz,” it’s HOW YOU USE THEM that is their true significance.

Because Brian and Dierdre devote a lot of ink to individual tools in this section of PPBPR, readers should note that some of the content will be outdated by the time they read it — the Web is so dynamic, and the Social Web is even more so.

But that is the Key Point of this section:

“Remember that these are merely tools to communicate with others; they’re not representative of the strategies and methodologies for observing and communicating with people.” — p. 153 PPBPR

Four chapters in Part 3: “Participating in Social Media”

Ch 11 – Technology Does Not Override the Social Sciences

Ch 12 – Social Networks: The Online Hub for Your Brand

Ch 13 – Micromedia

Ch 14 – New “Marketing” Roles

Valuable re-quote from The Cluetrain Manifesto:

These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking.

Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.

Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your call-is-important-to-us busy signal.

Same old tone. Same old lies.

My take-aways:

  • Conversations will go on — with or without you. Watch that the competition doesn’t get there first.
  • Negativity in the conversation can present opportunity, e.g., to change a perception.
  • Basic PR has not changed: YOU are the communication bridge between your company and the people you want to reach.
  • Social media helps uncover relevant online communities: LISTEN, OBSERVE and, then, ENGAGE.
  • Reach out to individuals not audiences.
  • Everything you do online today, whether it’s personal or on behalf of a company you represent, contributes to public perception and overall brand resonance.
  • Social networks are forcing PR practitioners to evolve — to step out from behind a cloak of anonymity.
  • “Socialize to Survive” : The days of focusing solely on Web stickiness, eyeballs, and click-throughs is waning. These are the days of immersion, conversation, engagement, relationships, referrals, and action.

NOW FOR SOME QUESTIONS: (especially for those of you who may want to consider discussing this chapter next Tuesday, September 15, at the 8 pm EDT/5 pm PDT meet-up of #smbookclub)

  1. As a “communication pro,” how do you [or anyone] keep on top of Networks and Apps?
  2. What platforms and apps have you chosen to use and why?
  3. What success stories have you had/or heard about that have impacted the way you feel about social media?
  4. How do you feel about “lifestreams” and/or posting updates on multiple sites simultaneously?
  5. Can discussions really take part in micromedia?
  6. Where would you like to see Social Media go from here?

I hope to hear your thoughts in comments below and/or next Tuesday during our book discussion.

Next Post: Description of Community Manager role as organization’s guide along Social Media Revolutionary Road

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   11 September 2009
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Sep 14, 2009
4:44 pm
#1 Tony Hurst :

Keeping up with networks and apps is hard for me. I try to make sure that I am complete in each domain before moving on. Automation helps me but I have to be careful that I’m a raisin and not oatmeal (Good in drops and not bland and spread too thin.)

Twitter and facebook are my starts. I like Twitter because its a non-intrusive taste for what more there is to offer of any entity out there -it needs to stay that way.

Discussions get started in micro-media. They should continue in greater depth elsewhere. We need micro-media just for the introduction but the introduction is critical.

Social media should hone users and work at developing sophistication. Train people how to be of quality as commercial entities and help consumers be more sophisticated in their choices so that it becomes clear to all where and how to connect people’s needs to valuable commercial offerings. Right now its just caveat emptor and not many people (advertisers or consumers) know how to choose or offer. If the sites took an active roll in vetting their advertisers it would improve THEIR image online.

Author Sep 14, 2009
5:44 pm

Love the raisin/oatmeal analogy.

Here’s my latest view on “keeping up with networks” . . . and some was validated in blog notes on a chat with thought leaders Chris Brogan & Peter Shankman:
Basically, Tony I agree that we can’t be everywhere, so we need to pick a few places and be present {and accounted for] on those platforms. My choices are (1) my blog; (2) Twitter; (3) Facebook [and my Facebook fanpage Performance Social Media]; and (4) Friendfeed. I am trying to be “there,” i.e., those places every day to add some sort of value.
I do respond to LinkedIn Plaxo messages, but for now those must take second chair.

As a business, however, it is my understanding that YOU, i.e. the business owner MUST find out where his/her customers are [even if that means MySpace] — and then establish a presence where they are so you can LISTEN to the conversations, which may be about you or issues of great interest to you.

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