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 social media marketing consultant Jacob Morgan. Jacob runs a team of Technical SEO’s and has worked with brands such as Adobe, Conde Nast, Sandisk and Salesforce. He has also been a guest author on this blog. My sincere thanks to Jacob for taking the time to reply and share his views. To connect with Jacob, or find out more about him, please visit his social media marketing blog or connect with Jacob on Twitter.
If someone was to ask you for your definition of social media, what would it be?
I would define social media as any tool, platform, or site that allows for collaboration or the sharing of information. Pretty much anything that allows people to talk or have a conversation with each other online.
What is your reason for using social media?
I use social media to build relationships with people. I build these relationships by sharing information and experiences and by interacting with people online. Social media has been a very valuable resource in terms of building trust and authority for me. Social media is also the most effective way to build and create an online presence. If you have the best product or service in the world but nobody can find you, then you don’t exist. It’s not enough to be great, you have to market great too.
Do you feel that social media is being used to its maximum effect?
Depends on who you ask or what you do. If you take a look at the Obama campaign then I would say yes, they did an excellent job. If you look at corporate social media as a whole then I would say no. Social media will never be used to its maximum effect because we don’t know what that is. Since the field is so dynamic it’s just not possible to say that we are achieving our maximum potential. There is always going to be something else we could do to improve.
At this point I think we should be asking ourselves: is social media being utilized? If so, how? Was it successful? Why or why not? How do we repeat success or mitigate failure?
What social media tools or applications do you use? Why these ones in particular?
I use WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, delicious, Feedburner, Google Reader, Google Alerts, Social Median, Flickr, Friendfeed, Facebook, and probably a few others I just can’t remember. I use each one of these tools to accomplish a particular goal, task, or objective. Overall all of these tools allow me to be an effective relationship builder.
WordPress is my the tool/platform I use to host my blog. I use Twitter to share information and content instantly, yet I also use it as a learning device and information source. LinkedIn has proven to be a great resource for business relationships and partnerships as well as client opportunities. Delicious is a very valuable tool when it comes time to save information that I feel I will use at a later time.
I use Feedburner to keep track of my blog’s RSS subscribers and I use Google Reader to organize all of my RSS feeds. Google Alerts is a great way for me to monitor target key terms or phrases as they pertain to me or clients. Social Median is a great information resource as I receive daily emails with content and information on my desired topics and categories. Flickr is my primary photo sharing tool which I am actually going to begin using more regularly soon.
Friendfeed is a social network aggregator that I mainly offer to users as a way to connect with me (for convenience), I actually don’t use Friendfeed actively. Facebook is just a great meta network – it’s a place where I can connect with friends, build business relationships, share photos, find out about events, etc.
Where do you see the future of social media, both in general and for you?
It’s always tough to predict the future of social media but at this point I think it’s safe to say it will grow. Over time companies will continue to see the value of building relationships with users and customers and we will see new and creative ways of doing so. We have a few great social media tools to do so currently such as Facebook and Twitter, but look for more tools, more platforms, more features, and more creative ideas that will actually tie in social media with business goals and objectives.
I also think that we are going to see a tools that begins to show a more accurate Return on Investment (ROI) of social media, and perhaps tools that will be able to integrate social media with search engine optimization (SEO). Overall social media has a long way to go but it will grow.
Are businesses effectively using social media? If not, what can they do to improve?
Some yes, some no. Comcast and Dell do an excellent job monitoring conversations on Twitter, while Victoria’s Secret is struggling to utilize their one million Facebook fans to achieve a business goal. This is a relative question and it depends on who you ask. It’s always easy to say that a business is not using social media effectively, but from the business point of view if they are seeing the results they want, then yes, it’s effective.
Overall, though, I think businesses need to focus more on personalization not automation. Relationships and brand evangelists aren’t built with robots, they are built with real people with real ideas and passions. Businesses need to be more clever and more creative!
What do you feel are the best and worst features/uses of social media?
I think the best part of social media is the ability for anyone, anywhere to build and online presence and relationships with the world. Social media is not bound by geography, race, religion, or sex. The instantaneous communication and open sharing of knowledge and information has changes the world we live in, this is amazing.
Just think, through Twitter I can find a client in China, even though I’m based in San Francisco. I can use Flickr to share a photo with my grandparents who live around the world.
As far as the negatives go, I would say that we are starting to see an increased number of spammers and hackers out there who are trying to take advantage of social media sites. It’s also tough to manage an increasing amount of connections and relationships across multiple platforms all of the time.
- You can find more “Discussing Social Media with…” interviews here.