In the past couple of weeks a few thing have gotten me thinking more about social media marketing.
The first was a gaffe made by James Andrews, a Vice President, Director at Ketchum Interactive. He made a comment on twitter about Memphis, the home of FedEx, a major client of Ketchum. Well someone from FedEx read James' comment and got a little upset. Which led to some questioning and more questioning and even more questioning about Andrews' and Ketchum's knowledge of social media marketing.
The second was an article that David Eckoff pointed me to entitled "Social Media "Experts" are the Cancer of Twitter (and Must Be Stopped)." In the article author Michael Pinto refers to social media mavens as "zombies." Money quote: "Sometimes the social media and SEO zombies can mate to produce a marketing strategy monster, but most of these are harmless."
Now I have nothing against James Andrews or social media marketers in general. As a matter of fact one of the reasons that I started blogging was to learn more about how social media "works." And while I hesitate to call myself a social media marketing expert (if for no other reason that such positioning is off-strategy), when it comes to such things I know more then 99.999% of the people using the Internet.
And the biggest lesson that I took away from what has become known at the FedEx incident, is that just like in the real world when you go to give a speech, you need to know your audience and make sure you are speaking to them.
And you might want to have a simple strategy in place. Here's mine. For the blogs I control and the big three of social networking.
I started and manage ATDC's corporate blog, PeachSeedz. While targeted towards entrepreneurs and the startup community, my assumption on anything that goes on PeachSeedz is that the president of Georgia Tech, a state legislator, or the governor of Geogia might read it. No politics here. Strictly business that fits within ATDC mission and advances it's reputation as a leading technology incubator.
On FoG I am a little looser. This is mine. I can pretty much say what I want. And I do. But I also do so with a mind that lots of people in my professional circles read what I have to say. Co-workers, entrepreneurs, employers, founders, investors, who knows. And my wife and kids too. And as the audience has grown I have found myself being more reserved in my comments while still maintaining an openness and my persona. Now over 3,000 people read FoG every month. I am mindful of that and write a bit differently then when the blog was much smaller.
Twitter believe it or not is where I am most guarded of all. A tweet can go anywhere. And they do. I have no personal relationship with the vast, vast majority of people that follow me on twitter. On twitter you have to assume that your comment can be seen by anyone and act accordingly. My follow strategy is to only follow those that I really know or seem really smart. Works for me.
I don't interact with Facebook much. My twitter stream is published there. I consider Facebook to be like a party. I only accept friend requests from those whom I either have or envision going to a party with. I ignore requests from business associates that want to friend me on Facebook. If they ask I request to connect on LinkedIn.
Great tool for amassing your real life business connections. I have prettly completely created a professional profile. You should as well. But as others have written, it's not a butler. And it is a really, really bad way to communicate. Generally speaking people do not respond to LinkedIn requests (I have a 198 notifications in my "inbox"). If you want to connect to someone that one of your connections knows, send them a email or call.