A little while back, I sent out a request via Twitter asking if anyone would be interested in being interviewed for a discussion on social media. With the medium meaning so many different things to so many people, as well as how it can be used, I was interested to hear the views of the people I connect with.
My original plan was to run a “round table” style of blog post – raise the questions and then have a mix of views as the responses. However, the answers I received back were all excellent, and showed why social media is the mix of interesting people and views that it is. So, I decided individual posts would be far more effective in an on-going series of interviews.
Sharing her views today is Lisa Hoffmann, Chief Copywriter at PRstore, offering small businesses an invaluable and affordable marketing resource. My sincere thanks to Lisa for taking the time to reply and share her views. To connect with Lisa, or find out more about her, please visit her blog new media lisa.
If someone was to ask you for your definition of social media, what would it be?
Media that allows for two-way conversations. Social – or interactive – media offers everyone the opportunity to contribute. Where our parents and grandparents were merely media consumers, we are media participants. This includes blogs, forums, photo and video sharing, microblogging, virtual reality – all the gadgetry that encourages sharing, interaction and community building. Social media technology makes it possible, social media culture makes it powerful.
What is your reason for using social media?
I became interested in it purely to figure out how it can help clients with their marketing and PR efforts. The more I researched it, the more fascinated I became. The communication potential is enormous. I’m still on the far side of the learning curve and drink up the great conversations centered around social media. It’s so exciting to witness its development, to consider the implications.
Do you feel that social media is being used to its maximum effect?
Not even close. It will continue to develop and evolve. On a recent vacation I stayed at a bed and breakfast with a group of American and international business people. Smart, accomplished folks. None of them had any idea what social media is or understood any of its business applications. They all associated it with kids fooling around on MySpace and Facebook.
What social media tools or applications do you use? Why these ones in particular?
My big focus right now is on blogging and Twitter. I’m a big believer in concentrating on one or two tools at a time, so you can test its compatibility and you can become a part of the community. I love blogging because I’m a writer at heart and it gives me the creative and communication outlet I crave. I love Twitter because it opens the door to stimulating, educational and perspective-changing conversation.
I can’t be at all the wonderful conferences that are happening across the country, but I can soak up a lot of what’s coming out of them. And people are so generous with their knowledge and insights. It’s exhilarating – sometimes exhausting – to engage with all these brilliant, forward-thinking people. Many are true visionaries.
Where do you see the future of social media, both in general and for you?
It’s hard for me to see the future, since I’m relatively new to the scene and still trying to get my arms around the whole thing. But I can safely say it will continue to grow and change and find its way into everyone’s living rooms and offices.
Are businesses effectively using social media? If not, what can they do to improve?
No. Many business people in my small corner of the world aren’t using it at all. They don’t understand it and they don’t realize its benefits. The only Web-related things most of the small business clients I talk to want are static websites and e-mail advertising campaigns. Education is the biggest obstacle to social media truly entering the mainstream as a marketing/PR strategy.
What do you feel are the best and worst features/uses of social media?
Best: Community building and information, and idea-sharing capabilities; facilitates quick feedback.
Worst: Too many applications; 24/7 availability and steep learning curve threaten my work/life balance.
- You can find more “Discussing Social Media with…” interviews here.