Monthly Archives: February 2010

Human Language is not just a Social Media Thing

Talking like a humanI don’t know how I slipped into it, why I started thinking this way, but I lost one of the key principles of social media, speaking in a human voice. Somehow I started thinking and telling clients that the human voice thing can be left for the blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc, the rest of your website and marketing material can be marketing crap. (Ok, I didn’t use the word crap)

As part of the Destination Marketing book club I’m leading everyone in the office through the “Cluetrain Manifesto” and while reading it for the first time in years,  I realized I went off track somewhere. It especially hit me in reading chapter three “Talk is Cheap” by Rick Levine. The below excerpt is what made it painfully clear.

Hart Scientific, Inc. (www.hartscientific.com) posted a convenient comparison of conversational versus traditional writing on their Web site. They have two versions of their Y2K compliance page. You can tell them apart:

Noncompliance issues could arise if Hart Scientific manufactured products are combined with other manufacturer’s products. Hart cannot test all possible system configurations in which Hart manufactured products could be incorporated. Our products currently test as being compliant and will continue to operate correctly after January 1, 2000. However, customers must test integrated systems to see if components work with Hart Scientific manufactured products. Hart makes no representation or warranty concerning non-Hart manufactured products.

And…

If you’re using our equipment with someone else’s gear, who the hell knows what’s going to happen. We sure don’t, so how can we promise you something specific, or even vague for that matter? We can’t, so we won’t. However, we love our customers and like always we’ll do whatever is reasonable to solve whatever problems come up, if there are any.

Which one would you rather read? Which one connects you to the brand, and gives you a sense of working with people, instead of a corporation?

I used to preach this and then lost it, and I think social media is to blame partly. It’s easy to put social media in a silo. For some reason in all the talk about Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc. I forgot that the principles that work with those social tools, work with all forms of media.

Heck I even warned against thinking social media are tools in a blog post  “Social Media, Philosophy, Tools, or Both?” Maybe I should take my own advice!

Well people get off track. I was there, but now I’m back. It’s not going to be an easy battle, but that has never stopped me before.

I encourage you to join me (if you aren’t there already) and to not relegate human voices to a blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Lets push companies and ourselves in talking with a natural voice in all mediums of communication.

Who  wants to read, listen, or even do business with a bunch of marketing crap anyway?

Is Twitter the New Library?

Is Twitter a Library?I have a tendency to explain things using metaphors and analogies. (I probably rely on it a little too much.) In keeping with that pattern, recently I have been telling some business owners that Twitter is similar to a library, and every account is a different book on the shelf. So if they want to have an effective Twitter account they need to be the book that has the best information, and the one people keep pulling off the shelf to use.

This is an over simplification of Twitter, but it seems help them in understand the unique aspects of Twitter. Especially businesses that think Twitter is only about telling people what you are doing.

Twitter started out as that, but has developed into a place to share and receive information, and through that information exchange, relationships and trust are developed.

This is similar to how non-fiction books gain popularity. Typically the books that are engaging and have great information are the ones people come to respect. This leads to the author being seen as an authority.

So how does a business become the best “book” in the Twitter library? Well for one you don’t talk about yourself, or the great offers you have this weekend. (Remember I said book not Newspaper insert!) Instead you give back to the Twitter community by providing information they can’t get elsewhere. You give insights on your brand and category that establishes you as the leader in your category.

Some of it should even be customer service information exchanged with people that need help. These are the real FAQ questions people want to see on your website, and provide great insight people can’t find elsewhere.

The nice thing about Twitter is that all this information doesn’t need to originate with you. You can aggregate information from other people including competitors and share that information if you think it will benefit your “readers” as long as you reference the original source.

The best part is that Twitter is not just one way form of communication like a traditional book. Instead it is two way which leads to a deeper relationship with your audience than a book author could ever have with a few book signings.

Ok, so Twitter is like a library, provide great information and develop trust with your audience and you will become an authority on a topic. That’s the easy part, the hard part is finding a topic to “write” about that people are going to pay attention to.

There are many great books out there that people don’t read because the topics just aren’t that interesting.

Problem with Mass Communication?

Problem with Mass Communication(Hate to jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon with my first “real” post back, but oh well.)

Something hit me yesterday while watching my Twitter stream from the Super Bowl. Normally my Twitter friends all tend to agree. Sure slight variances of opinion happen on things such as the iPad and politics, but I’d never seen such wide rage of opinions from hate to love as I did about the Super Bowl ads.
The most popular ad seemed to be the Dorritos dog collar ad, but even in a group of like minded people like I have on Twitter, some of my friends hated it.
In marketing class you are always told to target, and go after a specific audience, but I think everyone in marketing holds out for that utopia ad that everyone likes. It makes me think about how I go about marketing.
Of course everything I do goes after a particular demo, but to some extent I want to make everyone that sees it happy. In doing that, am I  diminishing the effectiveness of  the ad to my target audience?
By appeasing everyone am I losing some of the connection I could make by exclusively focusing on the demo? Probably.
Or  is it even possible to make everyone in one target group respond the same way? I believe even if you target certain demo’s and audiences, that group no matter how tightly defined is still going to have different sets of emotional triggers that make them respond differently.
It’s one of the main problems with mass communication. When you go after the masses you are either going to turn someone off, or make something so blah no one cares.
Maybe that is what appeals to me about social media. It’s a lot easier to make people happy when you listen and respond, as opposed to when you broadcast.
What do you think?

It Feels Good to be Back

So the sites not completely done. Still some IE errors and some other tweaks etc. but I can say I’m back, and thanks to some amazing work by Bob Dunn from Cat’s Eye Marketing I think it looks a lot better as well.
I am coming back to blogging and it feels very good to be back. I miss diving deeper into my thoughts, sharing my opinions in more than 140 characters, and mostly experiencing the relaxation of writing.

I can’t guarantee much in terms of great writing, spelling, grammar, or even content, but I will give what I can. I will listen if you have something to say, and I will try to be consistent with at least two post a week from here on out.

So feel free to come as go as you please, subscribe to the RSS or email, or simply ignore me all together. Really it doesn’t really matter, cause I’m here and don’t plan on going anywhere soon.