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 his views today is Stuart Foster, social media consultant at The Lost Jacket, a New Media and Web 2.0 Marketing company creating synergy between old and new website ideas. My sincere thanks to Stuart for taking the time to reply and share his views. To connect with Stuart, or find out more about him, please visit The Lost Jacket blog. You can also connect with Stuart on Twitter.
If someone was to ask you for your definition of social media, what would it be?
I define social media as the effective crowdsourcing of ideas, information and thoughts into a readable and (sometimes coherent) stream.
What is your reason for using social media?
I use Social Media for marketing and public (People) relations. I was tasked with running/overseeing the PR wing at my company… one problem: no cash to back me up. My answer to this conundrum was to turn to social media. I have had a great deal of success with this approach and was very satisfied with my results. I also finally saw the business applications for something I had been doing for the past 10+ years. It was definitely a pivotal moment in my life.
Do you feel that social media is being used to its maximum effect?
No. In order for social media to be maximized in effectiveness… it needs to have the support of C-level executives. Some companies like Zappos and crowdSPRING get social media and have the support of their founders. However, until SM is approved and understood on a wider level… the same arguments against it are going to be used (example – Show me the Return On Investment, or ROI?).
What social media tools or applications do you use? Why these ones in particular?
I’m addicted to Twitter via Tweetdeck. I use LinkedIN to keep my street cred up with the older folks. I am also a very active social bookmarker on Digg, Reddit, del.ic.ous, and StumbleUpon. With Twitter I am able to talk with people who would definitely not get on the phone with me or even respond to an email…it’s a huge way to level the playing field. LinkedIN is great for maintaining an online (and regularly updated) resume. Social Bookmarking gets eyes on your page of choice…and if content is king: traffic is god on the internet.
Where do you see the future of social media, both in general and for you?
Social Media is going to blow up in 2009 (In a good way). The reason for this being that people will begin to realize that the ability to soft sell on services like this is a much more attractive option then a cold call. Social Media can also make you a networking force, I predict lots more people will begin searching for and reaching out for jobs via the SM space.
Are businesses effectively using social media? If not, what can they do to improve?
No. Some businesses are using social media but it hasn’t gained wide spread adoption yet. Also, it is still viewed as being an accessory or a shiny hood ornament. Companies will allow their message to be communicated by an intern and even worse often let their message become outdated and forgotten. Nothing is worse then a company offering information about their new sale for the summer of 2002…
What do you feel are the best and worst features/uses of social media?
Everyone gets to use social media. So in a way it is the best and worst thing about it. Your detractors, naysayers will be there (as will a few irrational trolls). However it’s great because you can directly address your naysayers AND have your fans come to your support. Making sure the process is transparent can greatly add to your credibility and success.
- You can find more “Discussing Social Media with…” interviews here.
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