Social media is more than coordinating Facebook, YouTube and Twitter Activity

JMS-PicI am grateful that the news has been covering (and getting involved) with the ever-evolving social media industry.  However, the media tends to focus on specific  platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) versus really talking about the communication shift social media really represents as a whole.

As a results, I find myself interacting with a lot of people that truly believe that social media is simply the coordination of communication within these featured platforms.  In turn, this is making it harder to recommend the hundreds of other platforms (that don’t get as much news coverage) that may be a better fit them.  Furthermore our client’s senior management (who are often not familiar with social media) rely on what they’ve heard in the news and feel that any successful social media campaign MUST involve these platforms featured in the news—whether they make sense or not.

For example, I’ve spoken to several non-profit groups that want to do online fund raising.  Many think about the platforms they have heard about, but most don’t ask me about other more appropriate platforms like Care2 —a concentration of millions of non-profit groups/advocates looking to spend time and money helping charitable organizations.  They don’t ask me about MissionFish (on eBay) that allows sellers to donate to a cause and buyers to purchase products that pass along proceeds to a specific charity.

For the record, I absolutely love Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.  However social media is much more—it’s about creating conversations with the right people online.  As you are putting together your social media strategy, think about that.  You’ll discover a whole new  world of platforms that will get you the results you are looking for —faster.

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A Traditional Media Boy in a Digital Media World

KippPhoto The world has gotten smaller—not just from my perspective as an adult, a husband, father, and advertising professional.  The world has gotten smaller on a variety of fronts and the shrinking agent – the internet.   With all the buzz about social media, I have seen the future and it has a hashtag# and a little “@” in the center of it.

Having spent most of my career in traditional media, I’ve made a tremendous leap and now work exclusively in the interactive and social media world.  Getting here wasn’t easy.  After finding myself on the wrong side of a company reorg due to this economy, I took a couple of months off, licked my wounds, and then faced brazenly into the wind setting off to find my new future.

I had my LinkedIn account, my Facebook profile, my resume and references all in hand. I applied for countless jobs online, contacted all my friends and professional associates, and networked as much as humanly possible.  In this new way of doing things, I was getting nowhere fast.

Then a couple of months ago I stumbled upon a job posting, in one of my LinkedIn groups, by a Social Media Agency called eWise Communications. It was an internship really, but what the hell. This was experience and something to do. I researched the company online and liked what I saw. I researched the owner on LinkedIn and was impressed. Then I applied, sent my unique (not canned) thoughts about the position, and then crossed my fingers. I got it!

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually leveraging social media like a pro.  In fact, it was that honest (not canned) cover letter that got me the job—my specific experience was secondary and I now realize online opportunities come about for our clients the exact same way. My roe has since morphed into a contract position and, in my time with the agency, I have become a blogger, a social media strategist, and an evangelist of sorts. Not only have I learned how to maneuver around some of the key platforms, but I am figuring out how to inspire conversation that creates the priceless type of value-based chatter that works on the blogosphere.

Dare I say that I’ve trained my experienced “traditional media” eye to adjust to the key cues of opportunity within the social media landscape.  Now I understand that interest in others equals interest in you, and that the spirit of collaboration within social media platforms leads to business opportunity —you don’t need to ask for it. It’s a whole new world and, I gotta say, I am having a blast.

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Why I Got Into Social Media

JMS-PicAs a social media consultant I come across a lot of people that are participating in the social media space. Some are software developers and usability experts helping companies implement internal social media platforms or build new smart phone APPS. Some are online graphic designers customizing blogs, twitter backgrounds, or visually unique systems. Some are video production professionals branding videos and launching online-only ads on YouTube and the like. Some are spammers (we don’t like them). Some are public relations firms trying to build buzz on behalf of their client’s product, service, spokesperson, or company. Even more are individuals trying to get informed and be a direct or indirect part of something they enjoy and believe in (politics, news, family, non-profit cause, etc.) The list goes on and on.

In my case however, I am a sales and marketing professional who turned to social media to find the most efficient way of bringing qualified leads into my sales pipeline. Before implementing social media into my sales strategy I used to spend all my time (and budget) attending breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, happy-hour networking events, galas, client trips (international and domestic) and grueling trade shows in the HOPES (no guarantees) of intersecting with a decision maker. This didn’t even include the time required for other sales functions such as client meetings, cold calling/emailing, researching, managing a sales team, and running reports. My husband would agree I was running ragged trying to be at two, three, and four places at once until I discovered how to utilize social media for sales purposes.

Social media enabled me to get in front of the decision-maker the FIRST time and eliminated all the courtship involved with face-to-face networking. Imagine going into a networking event and, rather than not knowing who most people are, think how efficient it would be if you knew each individual and how he/she could advance your organization’s efforts. Also imagine being able to activate your greatest sales force (your clients and staff) to help credibly promote you to similar decision makers across a spectrum of industries— for free. If utilized correctly, social media enables you to get the information you need to make each and every online networking opportunity THAT powerful. When I implemented it, it enabled me to shorten the sales cycle, reduce my department expenses, and increase my productivity many folds over. I actually found myself going home on time after spending a day adding amazing prospects (we’re talking 6 figures) into the pipeline.

At its core, social media saved me and enabled me to be the super woman at home and at work that I always aspired to be. That’s why I started eWise Communications and why I am so fierce about helping clients utilize social media to produce bottom-line results. I truly believe that the powers of social media from a sales perspective can be transformational and I am having a blast seeing my clients experience the very thing I did many years ago.

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