Lady Gaga, yes, easy…

30%, ok we cheated a bit, but nearly right…

Yahoo, wrong,

Spain, no we didn’t get that, which is strange because we live there….

 

Here’s a room full of people who use social media for their professional contacts all day and Kathryn Corrick’s simple little quiz had us struggling. The questions which belong to the answers above are along the lines of … biggest number of Fb friends…. LG of course is ahead of Master Bieber, very just in… 30% is the extra time that females dedicate to social media compared to males…. Yahoo is not the second most used search engine, it’s actually YouTube…and the country in Europe with the second highest level of social media activity is Spain: the number one highest being Russia. You probably knew all that anyway, but between us we didn’t.

So it just goes to show that if we are using social media as a marketing tool we need to get our facts straight first, and not work on our assumptions. In fact, Kathryn Corrick made lots of great points in her recent training day which I was lucky enough to attend, although of course I’m writing here from a personal viewpoint and not on behalf of the organisation I work for….

I think the most important thing Kathryn said was that it must be your business strategy which drives your use of social media strategy. No amount of wittering on twitter will be worth a fig on Facebook if you have not got first principles right.

Second best thing I came away with was don’t ditch traditional marketing tools: that nice little printed flier that pops out of your pocket when you get home and reminds you to book those theatre tickets; that gloss colour brochure that is comforting and luxurious as you turn the pages and that business calendar that is held on the fridge door by magnet and takes you back to that friendly local shop just because, well, because it’s there every day in front of your nose. Not to mention emails, so uncool, but still boss.

Thanks you for the tip about hashtags on twitter, and for warning me against playing Mr Angry on that medium or risk landing on the go to jail square. Thanks also for the really useful list of search sites. Right, I know I should have found these for myself, but I hadn’t, and I now have lots of very useful research data by idling over brand visibility metrics at  http://www.howsociable.com/ and real time search at    http://www.socialmention.com/ .

Again, it’s a matter of having the facts and real data instead of hunches, assumptions and wishful thinking. These and similar sites provide the missing link. Talking of which, the most nuts and bolts fact of all is that if we set up a new blog, chat room, Facebook page or Twitter account, of course it’s free but not without cost: the time commitment to maintain any of these sites and anticipating answering our customers’ needs is considerable, and there is no point setting them up until we have first worked out who is going to support them.

When we looked at a few model company web sites we were impressed by some and disappointed by others, and we were interested that some big hitters seem to duplicate what’s on their different media instead of segmenting and differentiating. We were also a bit upset that persons who have become friends of a certain UK publisher on said publisher’s Facebook page led to all their friends’ photos being accessible by persons with no real business to see them… persons like us. No good blaming the persons for not nailing down their privacy settings, it’s the media designer’s fault for making the default settings what they are, too open.

Were we side tracked when we debated whether it really is the vast majority of everybodies who are superglued to their smartphones and will twit and text and mail until their fingers touch bone? What about this huge proportion of citizens even in developed countries whose lives are circumscribed by a limit of 10 kilometres of movement between places of home and work?

What about ethics? Just because a company has developed a feature where you can be irresponsible and have the potential to place yourself in danger by telling anyone who wants to know exactly where you are, and where your friends are, should we take part in marketing campaigns that encourage persons to use this feature, or should we be doing all we can to drive this feature  out of use?

Then came the day’s worst moment, the body blow, the merciless home truth. Kathryn had one of her many graphics with a huge number of different social network groups, Hi5, Linked-in, one after another, with a relative strength often dependent on language or geo location.  How much better it is, she said, to introduce ourselves into those networks where our clients and potential customers are already active rather than trying to create new groups, new Facebook pages, because, in the end people do have other things to do, some people even  like watching X-factor, sorry Elton,  and they also might regard their social network sites as their spare time hobby, strictly don’t make me think too much relaxation, and maybe your company’s messages and enticements will be nothing more than an intrusion, liable to be zapped into delete this comment oblivion.

When it comes down to it, it’s still a bit like when we were little kids in the playground: you have to stick close to a couple of good mates, because, for good reason or bad, not everyone is going to want to be your friend.

http://kathryncorrick.co.uk/

 

 

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