Social Media 101: My Version

by francine Hardaway on December 7, 2007

Because I’ve been reading Jon Ray and Chris Brogan I have decided to do my own primer of social media. But rather than talk about what it is, I prefer to focus on why you (my older than 18-34 friend) should learn how to use it. Let me know what you think, and feel free to use this for the 35-55 demo, or even further…

It’s amazing to me how many  marketing (advertising, PR, marcom and
strategy) people still think social media is something they don’t need
to know about. I’m slightly prejudiced, because I spent my days on the
Internet, but I think it’s something everyone needs to know, even if
only as a parent. Your business is there, your child is there, and
your customers are there (yes, yours, too).

The rise of the MySpace and Facebook phenomena reminds me of ten or
twelve years ago, when most of my friends thought they’d be dead
before they needed to learn to read email or understand the Internet.

However, the pace of change is pretty quick these days, and we are all
living longer, so you may indeed want to know about social media and
what it can do for (or against) you.

The way we produce and receive media is changing. I just sat in a
conference where the main points of discussion revolved around the
change from text to video on the Internet. As I said a few weeks ago,
if your child doesn’t read, he may not be penalized for that in the
future, if he takes in enough information from video.

[Every three years, there’s a dramatic shift in how kids use the
Internet and how they get news, so your older children may even
exhibit different online behavior than your younger ones. And their
way of receiving information is definitely different from yours.]

For example; no younger person emails anyone. So they text or IM? No
they don’t. Not anymore. IM is for older people now, and the kids
write on each other’s Facebook walls or talk to each other in Gaia
Online as avatars. (Remember, avatar in Sanskrit means a
representation of God on earth).

As a result, no longer can companies toss a message over the masses
like a blanket and expect people to respond. There are just too many
other brand messages to compete with, not enough people are listening
to traditional forms of advertising and marketing, and large segments
of the population have been programmed to ignore advertising and
marketing altogether —and they’ve gotten pretty good at it.

So the only way to reach customers now is to "friend" them – to become
a trusted resource to whom they want to listen. There are untold
communities on the Internet having conversations and they are
listening to each other and taking advice from each other.  In these
communities, before you give advice or circulate your marketing
messages, you first have to LISTEN to what’s happening in the community.

A social network makes it easier to listen.  A social network is a
community of people tied together by one or more common interest:
values, visions, ideas, friends, kinship, dislikes, trade, restaurant
preferences, workout goals. Social networks can help you target a
specific demographic with your marketing, spread word-of-mouth praise
for your company, raise public awareness about one or all of the
projects you are working on, find new markets, design and develop your
next product, streamline your workflow and most importantly get to
know and understand your customers better.

Social networks are word-of-mouth advertising or personal referrals on

To understand why social networks aren’t a huge time sink, you have to
understand how the friend-of-a-friend phenomenon, often known as "six
degrees of separation," can help you grow a business or a social life.
If you meet "the right people" on a social network like Plaxo,
LinkedIn or Facebook, they can help you get in the door.

And if you merely want to advertise, the social networks allow you to
advertise in the most cost-effective way: by aggregating your
potential customers in one place where you can reach them with a
targeted ad that fills a need you already know they have.

Monitoring and adding to millions and millions of conversations online
every day is a big job, but it’s one of the most important jobs of the
future for your company. And there’s a lot to know about it. If you’re
interested in learning more about whether social media can add value
to your company or your cause, feel free to video message me on
Facebook, YouTube, Kyte or Seesmic, find me on LinkedIn, follow me on
Twitter, message me on Flickr, comment on my Utterz, invite me to your
event through Upcoming. Just don’t call me.  I don’t answer the phone
anymore; I don’t have the time .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lilyhill December 7, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Another great one, Francine!

CustomersAreAlways December 7, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Where To Find Customers Online

Here at Customers Are Always I talk a great deal about joining the online conversations that your customers are having. But where do you go to find those customers? In the video below Mike Sansone of ConverStations illustrates to reach…

CustomersAreAlways December 7, 2007 at 10:34 pm

Where To Find Customers Online

Here at Customers Are Always I talk a great deal about joining the online conversations that your customers are having. But where do you go to find those customers? In the video below Mike Sansone of ConverStations illustrates that in…

Jon Ray December 8, 2007 at 11:34 am

I think what’s so fascinating about social media is that it almost removes social hierarchy altogether. In the old days, you went to 12 years of school, then 4 more years of college. You got a job and started at the bottom of the company when you were in the 18-34 demographic, in hopes that you would be making good money and have high status in your company by the time you hit the 35-55 demographic.

What social media does is take that antiquated, linear formula and throw it out the window!

Social media allows any 15 year old with a little common sense to start his/her own business and hire on members of the 35-55 demographic. What used to take us four years to teach in college, I can now learn in a matter of months online. With technology and media tools changing so quickly, it’s no longer about learning now, then doing later, but now you might argue that it’s better to do it now and learn how later.

Age, experience and tenure no longer exist in our online market. The playing field is leveled. Self-education and exploration has never been so important, because it is the early adopters that will pave the way for everyone else.

Thanks, Francine!

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