Those of you that have been following my adventures for a while know that I put my heart, soul and mind into social media. Since writing my own blogging platform a decade ago (the billion dollar idea that I never capitalized on…) to my almost-obsessive fascination with brand interaction on channels like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, I am constantly observing and strategizing ways to make the interaction and engagement between companies and customers better through social media. I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of years consulting businesses of all types and sizes regarding their engagement (or lack thereof) within these online communities. From Fortune 100 companies that distribute hardware all around the world to non-profit agencies that are doing their best to make a difference in the world, I have worked with groups to lend insight, support, ideas and action to social media programs. Given all of that, I’m quite pleased to announce that I have taken a new role within the industry.
Whenever I get into a conversation with somebody about social media and how it relates to their company, two objections typically come up (assuming the company isn’t already involved with social media). People say these things in a number of ways, but really it all boils down to just two issues.
“Social Media doesn’t apply to us“. Oh really? That’s like saying the economy doesn’t apply to you because you aren’t a banker. Just because you don’t deal with online media and networks on a day to day basis, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t involved. I remember being in conversation in the early and mid 1990s with people that were pretty sure that “this internet thing” was just a fad. It was going to be a place where people could play games and waste time by sending messages back and forth. While both those things are certainly true and prevelant, it would be challenging to find somebody these days that doesn’t think that the internet is so much more. In the same way, social media isn’t just a fad. When MySpace started making it onto the evening news, companies and individuals alike poo-pooed social media as a fad, or something that “just the kids did”. Today it is so much more. If you and your brand (your company, your music, your writings, your thoughts) aren’t participating in the social media forum, you are already behind.
“We need to control the message, so we can’t get involved“. This is a statement based on fear, and some of it probably righteously so. Companies (particularly non-profits) are paralyzed by the fact that there may actually be a multi-way conversation about a product, service or idea. In a closed room, dozens of PR and Marketing gurus gathered for weeks on end to come up with the message that was going to be broadcast regarding Product X and they don’t want to mess with that. What if somebody doesn’t like Product X? Certainly we don’t want others to know about it! We cannot build a place where people talk about our company and we have no control over the conversation. I’ve got news for you, Mr. CEO…they already are talking about you, you just aren’t involved. This is akin to burying your head in the sand. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? Wrong.
This blog is going to explore the community that is happening all over the world, and we’re going to talk about how you can get involved. There are some companies that do an amazing job at participating, reacting and guiding (companies like Dell and Ford) but unfortunately there are too many more that don’t.
Stay tuned, this is going to be fun.
Welcome to my new readers…and a familiar hello to my long-term readers! If you subscribe via RSS I did a little bait and switch on you. Let me explain.
I’ve been blogging since 2000 when I wrote my own blogging platform (don’t get me started…it was the billion dollar idea that I never brought to market). Then I switched to platforms like TypePad and WordPress, and I ran a leadership blog called “Leading With A Limp”. I think it did alright…it even got on Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop page as one of the best of the best. I wrote about organizational leadership, particularly as it related to churches and non-profits. I always included a pretty fair amount of personal information as well, and there are a lot of people all over the world that know a pretty fair bit about my life.
Recently I’ve decided to change focus.
There are a number of reasons behind this, but I won’t bore you with the details. Here is the new focus however: I will still talk about leadership (it’s been a big part of my life as a working adult), but I am also going to get a little more helpful (I hope) to established businesses, non profits, start ups and Joe Six Pack as things relate to social media and brand strategy. I live deeply in the online world, and I see so many entities around me struggling to get it. They want to participate, they want to be involved…they just have no idea where to start.
I’m going to focus on tools (tips and review), strategy and resources. I’ll do live Qik streams when I’m at cool tech and media events that people would want to be a part of. I might even throw in an interview here and there…who knows?
It’s going to be fun, useful and focussed. Yes, I did say fun. To know me is to know that I perhaps have a screw or two loose, so it’s hard not to have fun with the tools we get to work with these days.
Thanks for being a part of this, as always, drop me a note (matt at mattsingley dot com), leave a comment or find me on Twitter if you have a question or comment.