HTCE – “Social Media: A New Way to Market” – Quick Brief
Last night I attended the High Tech Communicators Exchange Event “Social Media: A New Way to Market” which saw Kris Krug of Raincity Studios and Rob Cottingham of Social Signal speak about the topic.
The talk was very informative and interesting – keep your eyes open in case they present this again. They are both very knowledgeable and funny speakers.
The pair spoke about websites, blogs and Facebook. They addressed the need for companies to jump into the conversation: the conversation about your company is already happening and you can choose to either ignore it, or to acknowledge it and participate.
They provided some great examples, including Ford’s which basically spoon-feeds bloggers. And Rob likened Ford’s and similar tactics to “digging a trench” – that when water falls, it will go everywhere – but these tactics can (sometimes) direct the flow. In this case, Ford is putting information out there specifically to engage/spur the conversation and make it easier for bloggers to post about them.
Regarding, company blogs – emphasized throughout the talk was the need for posts to be engaging, passionate and above all, authentic. Rob also pointed out that it was critical to “give value” to the conversation you were participating in (platitudes and “Hiel the company” aren’t going to cut it). He stated that there were rewards for actually engaging in authentic discourse and that you shouldn’t ignore bad press – associating yourself with it and addressing it is crucial in the Web 2.0 world.
They also spoke of worst practices, which generally involved trying to cheat the public, often pretending to be a proponent of the company or fan when, in fact, the message is coming from or being paid by the company. They cited some classic instances, but one that came to my mind as soon as they began on that track, was the Sony Playstation debaucle.
Kris spoke about “giving things away” – a great tactic to “build an audience”. (I’m actually working on an article about Whitepapers and E-books, on just that subject – yes, faithful readers, you knew I couldn’t resist throwing in some self-promotion).
They also discussed how the Internet can easily “expose” a fraud. Crowds do “police”, and often in quite literal ways. Kris Krug mentioned an alleged incident of the theft of his photos, discovered by a fan of his work. Kris has a very open policy about his fashion photography and is content to “give it away” under a Creative Commons license. Of course, this license does not extend to plagarism... Kris way of dealing with the issue was also quite novel as his post title included the alleged offender’s name and eventually rose to the top for Google searches for the guy’s name…
Ah, this Interweb thing is a frightening and exciting locale…