Category Archives: twitter

In Social Media we trust

By Jeff Bowman

As a marketer, I  try to keep up with new trends and exciting innovations in the area of driving consumer desire and brand recognition.

Social media, (Twitter, blogging, Facebook etc), was touted as the next big thing several years ago, but the evolution is  difficult to keep pace with.

Chris Brogan raises a paradox that is very interesting to me.  “We trust strangers online more than ever before, and we’re suspicious of most buzz.” What makes us more apt to distrust some buzz while placing our trust in other spins?

For me, there are immediate clues about the value and integrity of a message.  As in any form of networking, some relationship needs to exist before a certain level of trust can be extended. Is the site where I read an article a reputable site with a long history and a good following? If so, I tend to trust it, although there are always stories like Balloon Boy that totally scam major news outlets.  I have a twitter account, and follow some prominent, and some not so prominent groups and individuals.  If they seem genuine, have a large number of tweets and other followers, they have earned some trust from me.  If on the other hand they have few tweets and follow hundreds of people I question their motive. How many times do people actually re-check their followers to see how many are still active after a couple of months?

Probably the most important factors for me is to network with people or groups who are involved in more than one level of social media.  Are they on Facebook because someone told them they should be or do they back it up with Plaxo, LinkedIn, Twitter etc all linked together to form a real network.

I always keep in mind that opinions expressed by the few today can grow to mammoth proportions using the power of social media.  Auto recalls have existed since I first started driving in the 70’s.  Today a simple recall can cost a company millions of dollars once a single person scrawls their complaint somewhere on the web. How long will it be before Facebook complaint is accepted as fact in a court? (maybe it has, and I’m still behind the curve)

In the book Friends With Benefits – A Social Media Marketing Handbook, I found some advice that I keep in the back of my mind whenever I read anything on the web. “Bloggers aren’t journalists” and their requirements for content are less rigid, and often emotionally based.  Despite this, they can generate a juggernaut of public opinion if it sounds sincere. Weigh this against a public relations expert from a large multi-national corporation taking a defensive stance.

Who will you trust more?

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Filed under Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, Networking, social media, twitter

Kevin Smith is “way fat” and media savvy

By Stephen Rhodes

By now, you should not require proof that the world has changed, so witness the bizarre case of Film Director Kevin Smith, who was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for being “way fat”. The pilot, it seems, deemed Smith a hazard to the stability of the aircraft.

Smith raised a stink about the incident on  Twitter , saying “I’m way fat. … If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air.”  Thing is, Smith has 1.5 million Twitter followers.

After a storm of angry online comments, the airline issued a “heartfelt apology” to Smith in a statement on its Web site. Too little, too late it seems.

Smith issued a rebuttal (language warning) and pleaded about moving on. “But, folks? Tomorrow? Let’s Tweet about other stuff, shall we? This is starting to taste mediciney and fruitless.”

Of course, the media wasn’t  quite so willing to let go. Smith brilliantly turned the tables and posted a number of  SModcasts online, allowing traditional media to pick and choose their clip, controlling the message in a unique way.

Brilliant. Original. The future.

Clearly, Southwest doesn’t understand the power of social media. As I said, the world has changed.

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Learn to write well

By Stephen Rhodes

The Web provides a forum for people to write freely about whatever they want and post it worldwide.

The Web is teeming with personal diaries in the form of  blogs, Facebook updates and now tweets. Some of it is painful to read.

The rules of writing, promoted by H.W. Fowler, author of a Dictionary of Fowler’s Modern English Usage or by William Strunk Jr and E.B. White in The Elements of Style, are lost today in a world of acronyms and 140-character blurbs.

Whatever your style, or degree of proficiency, Jason Cohen at copyblogger has “10 secrets to More Magnetic Copy” –  a few simple techniques to make your writing more compelling.

Jason talks about using the active voice, brevity and telling a story. His post reminds me of William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well, an excellent resource for writers.

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Eating elephant morsels 140 characters at a time

By Stephen Rhodes

To build on yesterday’s post about the changing world of marketing , I want to say that most business people I talk with are afraid of Social Media because it seems complex and involved. And it may seem a little daunting to someone with minimum online skills.

There has been so much written about Social Media over the last 12 months and it’s easy to feel uneasy and out of touch. I can’t keep track of the daily how tos on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube and Flickr.

Think of it as an  elephant, and we all know how to eat an elephant.

Amber Naslund at Altitude Branding has an excellent primer called The Social Media Starter Kit. Download it and use it as a starter and a refresher. Follow Amber on Twitter and subscribe to her blog. She can teach you a lot.

In the beginning you want to listen and observe. Build your own community by following or subscribing to people who speak to you. When you feel comfortable, talk back, share and contribute. Find your own voice.

Let me know what you think of Amber’s starter kit? Or let Amber know.

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Eyeballs glued to the world wide web

Rhodes croppedBy Stephen Rhodes

Communications strategist David Henderson was musing last week about eyeballs, specifically where there were focused as he and a friend watched passersby with heads down,  glued to their iPhones and Blackberrys (PDAs).

Eye On The PhoneI have noticed the same thing and it’s not just teenagers. People walking along the street, in movie theatres, restaurants, board rooms… all with an almost insatiable need to stay connected. The other day I was standing on the main street of a small town in Ontario and I accessed Poynt on my Blackberry to help me find a restaurant for lunch. The street wasn’t that long.

David’s blog quotes Erik Qualman’s book Socialnomics:

  • One billion iPhone apps were downloaded by iPhone users in the first 9 months.
  • Americans have access to one billion Web pages.
  • Newspaper circulation is down 7 million in the last 25 years but unique visitors to online news sources are up 30 million in the last 5 years
  • More video has been viewed at YouTube than on all of the TV networks in the last 60 years.
  • Barack Obama raised $55 million in one month during his 2008 campaign … all through online social media.
  • Twitter was a primary means of communications between ordinary citizens in Iran during the contested 2009 presidential elections.

David adds that Google’s research shows:

  • 25% of search results for the top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  • 34% of the 95 million bloggers in America post opinions about new products and services … and they have influence.
  • 78% of consumers online trust peer recommendations.
  • Only 14% of Americans trust advertisements.

He concludes we no longer search for the news, the news finds us … on our PDAs and that companies and organizations need to become an online resource, act more like storytellers, party planners, aggregators and content providers than traditional advertisers or promoters.

Marketing today is a two-way street. To be good at it, you need to keep your head down.

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