Mar 072012
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social media failA few years ago I moderated a webinar for a San Francisco B2B media company called Tippit, now Ziff-Davis B2B Focus. The presenter was Tippit’s CEO Scott Albro. Scott said something on that webinar I’ve repeated (always with attribution!) many times since.

“In social media, the people are the media.”

To the casual observer, social media can look like a cluttered landscape of tweets and likes and follower counts and Klout scores. But behind all of that are people building relationships with other people, doing favors, earning trust, conversing, relating, connecting, etc….

Social media strategies that produce real-world results – e.g., product purchases, event attendance or sponsorships, favorable reviews or inbound links — require time and a real human touch.

Sure, you can buy an automated tool that employs lots of gimmicks to rapidly increase your follower count. But nobody who is influential in social media is going to help your business succeed if your Tweet-stream contains a bunch of pithy quotes or random links, and is completely devoid of conversations with other PEOPLE.

Think of it like a cocktail party or networking event. The guy getting in everyone’s face selling a multi-level-marketing product might, just by sheer force of will, get 1 out of 100 people to “join his downline” at the event. But the other 99 will write him off as tacky and self-serving.

Please, for the love of humanity: DON’T BE THAT GUY.

Instead, be the guy (or gal) who makes solid connections with the 10-15 connectors and mavens at the party, and then follows up to help them with THEIR goals so you can ultimately achieve YOUR goals.

Check out the #2daysinseattle Twitter conversation. The Seattle visitors and convention bureau hired an agency to line up 30 influential tweeps to curate content, converse with people online, and build awareness of Seattle tourism options. Here’s the list of curators.

My point in sharing this example is not that you must hire an agency to line up 30 tweeps. [Depending on your resources and level of urgency, that may be either be a master stroke or a catastrophic fail.]

But it does help to illustrate how the game works. It requires humans who can use machines to talk to other humans. And eventually, when trust and influence are in place, some of those humans will be inspired to take actions that create commercial value for other humans.

Building that influence and trust requires time and people. And yes, it also requires investment.

Tell me I’m wrong about all this in the space below.  Or tell me that I’m partly right but missed a key point or two. Or tell me that I need to call my mother.

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