Mostly to needle friends who worked there, I used to say that marketing is what you do when you can’t sell stuff. I knew then (and now) that you can’t easily sell what people don’t know about. Still, like the executive suite, marketing is a major source of corporate rhetoric.
Admit it, though–when someone talks about driving the customer or driving the business, you’re thinking “make ’em go where we want.”
That’s not to detract from points Aaron Strout makes in this interview at onlinecommunityreport.com (my thanks to David Wilkins, who tweeted about it). Strout makes a distinction that’s useful to consider:
Social media in its truest form is really any content – text, video or audio – that allows people to comment on, discuss or interact with. The most common examples of social media in my mind are blogs, Twitter, podcasts, and video sites like Youtube.
Online community requires both content, tools like forums, ratings/reviews, tagging AND social profiles. It’s the latter that creates “community” because members are able to connect to one another moving from a “what you know” to a “who you know” model.
Strout also has Twitter advice, the kind that can take a while to acquire. Among the most important things, he sais, is “understanding the value of ‘give before you get.'”
That’s mainly because when Twitter asks, “What are you doing,” it feels like you should talk about yourself. WRONG. Talk about other smart people you’re meeting. Point to good articles or blog posts. Comment on how funny someone’s last tweet was. At the end of the day, if you do those things, the benefits will come back to you in spades.
Most people I follow on Twitter fit that model. Yes, I find out about their lunch plans the way they find out that my electrical inspection got delayed because the electrician forgot to renew his license. Mostly, though, I’m seeing links to sites or articles, mini-reviews, notions.
In other words, people talking about what’s worthwhile, in case I want to drive there myself.
“Driving the cattle, um, I mean, customer” photo by MandaRose / Amanda Salm.