Content Marketing

Social Media Wants to Know if You’re in Camp 1 or Camp 2

I’ve been writing a little back and forth today with Mr. Ted Shelton of The Conversation Group. I’ve been deliberately OUT of the conversation for awhile now, not reading much about social media. Thanks to Mr. Shelton for pulling me back in 😉

He said, “I would be interested in your take on Shel’s description of two different approaches to social media:” Two Social Media Camps in the Enterprise

In his post Shel Israel describes two camps.

Camp 1:
In nearly every company I talk with, I hear about those who understand that social media is something new and different from traditional marketing. It is not about putting messages into foreheads. It is about the enormous wisdom and efficiency to be gained simply by having conversations with customers, prospects, employees and partners.

Camp 2:
…there is muttering and trepidation of another camp, one that is often being pushed by the traditional marketing people who see social media simply as another channel to push out brand awareness and product-related messages. It is another way to have the corporation talk about the corporation rather than listen to customer concerns, complaints or even compliments.

Responding from my current practice is difficult. For one thing my entire professional career has happened online, in the shadow of Google. I started at an email newsletter editor with 1 million subscribers and helped grow a 50k member forum based on reader responses. I’ve only ever known the cluetrain.

Secondly Israel’s writing about social media at a scale that I left behind when MSI folded and I went freelance. My clients are small businesses so I think these days at a scrappy, micro level.

One of my clients runs a designer jewelry company. He started and writes about the agonizingly slow changes in the mainstream jewelry supply chain. He also wrote a guide encouraging jewelers to be more transparent in their sourcing so buyers can make more educated decisions. His primary tools are his blog and his email – he sends out his FRE handbooks as email attachments to people who write to him requesting it.

I have a client who sells power tools. I visit woodworking forums and aggregate advice, acting as a sort of community editor and highlighter for our site blog and newsletter (30% opens, 46% clickthroughs on average). Not razzle-dazzle social media but none the less it works and generates response (comments and page views) from our readers.

That said, I believe I fall into Israel’s first camp, as I prefer letting conversations grow organically and I lean heavily towards transparency. Also, don’t tell my clients but I’m not a marketer in the traditional sense. I prefer to find mutually-beneficial ways of communication and conversation.

But to stretch my brain a little I’d look at several opportunities/proven models for conversation and community building for an enterprise client.

1) identify and segment the creative types who use their product lines and create mutually beneficial communication tools to empower them to leverage the company’s existing attention share. Something similar to how SalesForce opened their financial ecosystem to developers.

2) build a customer-run and driven (or at least augmented…) help desk.

3) identify the brand evangelists and let them drive. I’d reread all Jake McKee’s lego posts and figure out how to apply his findings to the enterprise.

Thanks to Mr. Shelton for getting me thinking macro! It’s a lot of fun 😀

So how about you? What camp are you in?

Categorised as: social media marketing

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