Experts Weigh-in with Social Media Lessons

January 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm 12 comments

At a recent meeting I attended, someone mentioned posting a video online and another person said: “And then we’ll just use social media to make it go viral”.

I’ve been reflecting lately about what I’ve learned about social media in the past few years.  One is: social media doesn’t quite work that way. You don’t post a video and everyone flocks to see it because it’s on the interweb.  Even significant promotion doesn’t mean it will take off like a rocket.

Your video/product has to be good. And, if that’s the case, then you have to have real connections, people you engage with, give to and who are receptive (to you or the product). And you have to have a promotion plan beyond just uploading/putting it out there.  (Certainly there are exceptions.)

I asked a few extraordinary people to impart their social media “lesson” (for instance, something they discovered through their experience or how they’ve learned to explain it to their clients).

Here’s what they said:

Darren Barefoot

Capulet Communications
Writer, marketer and technologist. Co-author of “Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook
The mistake that most organizations make is starting with the tools.  They say “the competition has a Twitter account, so we need one too!”  The tools should come last, not first.  They should think through where their audience is online, what their objectives are, what strategies they should apply and then, finally, which tools or platforms to use (or whether they should create new ones).
Also, when marketing on the web, there are no magic beans.

Ari Herzog

Ari Herzog & Associates
Online media strategist and elected city councilor.
Social media is not new.  It was born long before Tim O’Reilly coined the Web 2.0 term and long before computers were born.  I frequently attribute Canadian marketer Kneale Mann who once wrote about prehistoric cave paintings as one of the earliest indicators of social media.  The hunter-gatherer tribes painted on the walls and orally told stories about the hunt, people asked questions, and conversations were sparked.  The wall paintings and the stories were media and the people asking questions were being social.  Has anything truly changed?  The lesson for organizations in 2010, thus, is to not view social media as a vanguard concept but as a tested, tried, and true means of sharing.  The key is in sharing.  If you’re not sharing, you’re not being social.

Kate Trgovac

LintBucket Media
Social media and digital marketer
When I’m working with clients, I have to remind myself that while social media may be my business, it isn’t theirs. They aren’t going to engage in social media all day.  And they don’t need to know every last little detail about it.  They want tools that will help them build their business. And if they are going to invest time and money in social media, it darn well better have a business return.  And so every time I suggest a tactic, I’m keenly aware that they will be giving up time they spend on traditional marketing channels.  I make sure we talk through the potential risks and rewards of social media programs and set realistic expectations – and determine if social media is actually the most appropriate channel for accomplishing their marketing objectives.  Because believe it or not, sometimes social media marketing ISN’T the answer.

Jordan Behan

Director of Marketing at Strutta and Bootup Labs
Videophile and technology advocate
You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start.  Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point.  There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula.  “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person.  The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.

Monique Trottier
BoxCar Marketing

Technologist, Online Marketer, Strategist.
Talking to clients about social media is always an exercise in metaphors for me: Social networking is a digital cocktail party.  LinkedIn is a business conference.  Twitter is your individual headline news ticker.  YouTube is your private tv station. In many ways the metaphors are silly and don’t fully explain the platform, but the point is that social media is nothing new.  Social media is simply a set of tools that let us do things that are harder to do in real life, such as keeping up to date on what all of our colleagues, friends and family members are doing, exchanging business contacts and making friend-of-a-friend introductions.
The skeptical comments I often hear from clients are, “why do people spend time on this?” and “how can I benefit?”  Any active social media user knows that these are the wrong questions.  The answer is that people spend time on this stuff because it improves their ability to network offline, to gather information quickly and to establish relationships and to stay in touch.
The basis of a good social strategy is answering the questions, “what are my clients doing online,” “what makes their chosen social networks attractive to them,” “what social failure or real life challenge does this network solve,” and “how can I participate here in a way that adds value, that establishes a closer relationship to my customers, that let’s me stay in touch with their needs, and that, ultimately, is a reciprocal relationship?”
Jacob Share

Share Select Media
Job Search Expert and Professional Blogging Consultant

One of my favorite lessons from using social media is that giving freely is a terrific way to meet someone, whether to just get their attention or even to become friends with them.  For example, I became friends with someone very cool because he dugg a JobMob article and I made the effort to thank him, which he didn’t expect but appreciated.

Elena Yunusov

Communications Specialist

This time around, HoHoTO was to me the manifestation of the good in people, the generosity and the potential of social media to break down barriers and let people be part of social change in such fun and joyfully informal way.  I can’t imagine 15 random near-strangers would ever come together offline (you know, in ‘real’ life) to organize an event like HoHoTO within days, if not for social media.  We hardly knew each other pre-HoHoTO! And even if we did, I doubt we could get the word out and hundreds of people on board – virtually with no cost other than our time – the way we did.  I was managing tens of volunteers for this HoHoTO, and we kept in touch and coordinated schedules via twitter, email and google docs.  When we met, I felt like we skipped a great many layers of ‘introduction’ and ‘getting to know each other’ – we were like old friends, on fire, and ready to rock it: for HoHoTO, for the Daily Bread.  For humanity.  Social media is a whole new way of connecting, and I love it.


I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your experience with social media.  Please comment below or feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to contribute your insightful tip to a future post on the topic.

For more tips, you might want to take a look at the 3 Case Studies on my presentation: “Facebook, YouTube, Twitter: Oh My!”  (See slides 58 to 83.)

And a final note: Reading Mark Dykeman‘s post “How to start 2010 by doing better work” inspired me to put together this one.

Experts Weigh-in With Social Media Lessons” by Monica Hamburg

Post url: experts-weigh-in-with-social-media-lessons

Jordan Behan, Director of Marketing at Strutta and Bootup Labs
Videophile and technology advocate.

You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start. Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point. There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula. “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person. The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.



Entry filed under: social media. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

METRAC, a Trust-filled Third Tuesday and Requests for Speakers and on Speaking Talk Amongst Yourselves – or Not So Much?

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grand Theft Auto 4: Media vs Reality | Video Games  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    […] Experts Weigh-in with Social Media Lessons « Me Like The Interweb […]

  • 2. Ari Herzog  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Wow, you just introduced me to a slew of people I’ve never heard of before! Jacob and I have shared some messages here and there, and Monique’s name is vaguely familiar, but everyone else are new names to me. Now I’ll be clicking over to their personal and corporate blogs…

    Thanks for asking me my thoughts, Monica!

    (Unrelated, why do you have two optional checkboxes below? One asks me to receive follow-up comments by email, and the asks me for new posts by email. Is the second like a opt-in RSS feed?)

  • 3. monicahamburg  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Ari,

    Thank you for contributing!

    And thanks for bring my attention to the checkboxes. (I rarely look at my blog when I’m not logged in and both boxes don’t appear then.)

    So I did a quick check and, yes, the first asks if you want to follow the comments to this post via email receipt. And if you check the second “You will receive an email whenever a new post is made on these blogs”.

    If that doesn’t answer your question fully, let me know and I will follow-up.

  • 4. Kneale Mann  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Hey Monica,

    Great piece from a group of very sharp people. Ari, you’re a prince for givng me a mention.

    We agree that Social Media is not about tools or websites, but it is about human behavior which makes it endlessly fascinating.

    Social Media are the mediums in which we socialize.


  • 5. Kneale Mann  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm



  • 6. Monique  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Very pleased to be included in such great company. Thanks Monica.

  • 7. Mark Dykeman  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Great post Monica. I really like Ari’s contribution, the story about the cave paintings. They’re all good.

    Off to try to find some magic beans… 😉

  • […] RT @MarkDykeman: Experts Weigh-in with Social Media Lessons « Me Like The Interweb [link to post] [by […]

  • […] Experts Weigh-in with Social Media Lessons « Me Like The Interweb [link to post] [by […]

  • 10. Kate Trgovac  |  January 15, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Great collection of people and advice. Thanks for including me! Interesting to read the common threads across the group along with the individual take on things.

  • 11. AriWriter  |  January 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Can a Social Media Dumbass Also Be an Expert?…

    I wrote last month why I’d rather be a dumbass than an expert in the world of social media. Enter Monica Hamburg, who reached out to me last week for my thoughts on social media marketing and strategies for using its tools. I responded with some …

  • […] I say you are an expert, you are. If this or that person groups you with other experts to answer a question, don't deny your inclusion. Don't make excuses. Smile widely and accept […]


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Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

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