Social Media: A Bridge Between Digital and Real Worlds

Businesses are under pressure to crack the social media code. There’s all those tools and platforms to harness, and all those best practices to adopt. Staying on top of it is exhausting. Staying ahead of it is almost impossible.

This was the lead-in to an interesting interview I recently read with Facebook’s, Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager. Adams explains how a simple commitment to value can unravel the complications of social media. He says the key is to understand and serve basic human behavior.

Will we get to a point where “social media” is not an online thing, but a bridge between the digital and real worlds?

Paul Adams: “I think we’re already seeing it happening. We see Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps stickers on business windows all over town. I do think this is where it’s headed. As I mentioned earlier, social media should be like electricity. It’s there, powering everything, but we don’t really think about it.

Our phone, or whatever we carry around with us, will probably be our primary source and producer of social media data, so it’s important that when we use it, we’re not burdened by its place in the ecosystem — for example, by seeing constant privacy controls or too many invasive alerts.

Fundamentally, the phone collects a number of datasets that other devices don’t. It knows who we communicate with the most, who we care about the most — because it knows who we call and text most often — and it also knows where we are, where we’ve been, and probably where we’re going. And in the near future, it will know the things we buy.

Mobile is going to be a very disruptive space, and I’m not sure how it will evolve. Rather than try and predict which technologies will be dominant, I think the safer bet for businesses is to understand how these technologies will support human behavior and how they will help people do things they are struggling to do today.”

I don’t know why, but I immediately thought of the great Simon & Garfunkel song, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Read the full interview HERE.

*This post was originally published on this site March 2011.

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Do You Hate That You Love Facebook?

I recently asked the question, “Do You Hate That You Love Facebook?” in the general Q & A section of LinkedIn, and as anticipated, received many responses. Some were quite interesting. A few confirmed the love-hate relationship. Others expressed love for personal use, but hate for business purposes. And some focused on the dependency of having to check Facebook, almost incessantly. I thought it would be fun to share some of the responses here. Upon reading the same, please feel free to share your thoughts.

This response was from a Senior Vice President who stated, “The only thing I hate is that FB is addictive! I spend way too much time blogging about nothing & the not important things in my life, as well as making comments on others’ profiles than I should. Years ago, we spent time outside – now we are glued to our computers. I am off on vacation tomorrow for the weekend – and decided not to take my computer along. Since I am not a Blackberry or iPhone user – it’ll be a real test…”

A Business Development Manager added, “No emotional attachment to Facebook or whatsoever..just another online tool to connect with friends and family overseas and former classmates…. nice to check out the apps once in a while and add some amusement in reading funny statuses from people..and sometimes expressing myself too…just a tool but not something I can’t live without :)”

An entrepreneur and self-professed non-executive stated, “Sometimes i am confused as to exactly why i love it / like it and other times i hate that i cant work out why i am using it….Every now and again i realise that there are moments when i love it (its a nugget of insight or a lost connection)”

A Virtual Assistant posted one of the longer responses… “I like that I like Facebook. I actually don’t love it. I keep a Facebook page and a Facebook Fan Page for business. The issues some have mentioned can be easily remedied using the many available features on FB now…segmenting friends into lists, setting up a Fan page with using the FBML app that truly represents your business, connecting it to LinkedIn and other social networking sites. Facebook is a very valuable tool for driving traffic to your business web site or blog. It is so flexible, now, though you have filter and segment it so that you only see what you want to see and share what you want to share to who you want to share it with. There is no need to ever be bothered with comments, posts, etc. that are not relevant for you.”

A retired manager exclaimed, “Facebook has very little utility any more for me, particularly for business. It is compromising its security with frivolous features that defy focus, foster meaningless exchanges and updates every time someone breaks a fingernail. Other than for close family contacts, pictures of the cute kids in my relationship and staying in touch with family, it is annoying beyond belief. My address book is shrinking to a bare minimum.”

A Plilanthropic Advisor pronounced, “I love that I love Facebook! I just don’t use it for anything related to business or e-commerce. I’m a serial contact purger – if we haven’t talked in person or on the phone or by email in the past year, I purge that person from my friend list until that happens. Try to keep it to 100 friends or less that I’m actively in touch with. Simply purge out the people who have annoying updates and that seems pretty rare right now. Love the updates, love the humor, love the photos that my friends post and love staying connected to people and groups that I like.”

A Lead Business Analyst responded, “I like that I hate it as I bailed out.. too much serial status updaters with useless information – such as “I cooked pot roast for dinner” and too many people I hardly knew in high school acting like we were best friends.”

And this, from a Chief Marketing Strategist, “As Marketing platforms, can we hate unlogical Reality TV shows? As Marketing platforms, do we still use yellow pages, neighborhood brochures etc? If above questions makes us think, then we can’t hate Facebook. No matter how useful or useless, no matter how simple of complex, no matter how time consuming or efficient, if a platform has 550 million users, 2/3rd people, 14 and above as part of it, one of the top traffic generators to your website (when you see analytics for referral site), marketing personal or business operator for sure need to be serious about it. Now how to optimize and utilize these numbers to our benefit, is what differentiates between the “Yes” or “No” of this answer. Having said that, I’m no Facebook fan, neither I have been able to optimize it fully for my business yet, but for sure we are getting more and more out of it every day.”

*This post was originally published on this site March 2011

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An Hour a Day with The Big Three Social Networks

I often hear many individuals state they don’t have enough time in a day for social media. Well, I know we can all squeeze in an hour of social media work somewhere, but the key is to do it efficiently to accomplish doing it effectively.

Just like eating an elephant, take one bite at a time. Never try to do too much at one time. And, try to make all your social media activity relevant and in line with your goals and objectives for entering social media in the first place. Once you’re past the development stage of setting up accounts at the Big Three social networks, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, including establishing “complete” profiles, dedicate 15 minutes to each network which I recommend doing so at the beginning of the day. Total time spent – 45 minutes.

Check previous days’ activity, making sure to use each networks “notifications” features effectively. Respond to direct comments and requests accordingly. Check discussions and respond as necessary, review other individuals’ responses, always keeping an eye open for new contacts. Post a discussion, status statement as appropriate Again, keep your goals and objectives in mind. Last, post a few tidbits of information through links to items of interest to your target group. Hey, I hate to beat dead horse here, but make sure everything you do is in line with your goals and objectives for being involved in social media in the first place.

Establish Google Alerts so you know what is being said about you or your brand throughout the day. As you check your email, whether by computer or mobile device, take a glance at any alerts that have come through, and only immediately address negative comments. Then, at the end of your day, take five minutes to review each of the three networks activity, respond only to activity that is very pertinent or urgent, and mentally prepare for your next morning’s activity. This will give you some time to think about discussion responses, etc. Total time spent – 15 minutes.

Shortcuts and Tools Help!

As for posting links to tidbits of information, as you progress through the day, keep an eye open for information through newsletters you subscribe to and in reading news online. When you find something of relevance, bookmark it for later in the day. Use tiny urls to convert long links to manageable links and to accommodate 140 characters within Twitter. Learn how to use key tools such as Facebook applications that convert your Facebook activity to Twitter activity, and applications that enable you to post in advance throughout the week.

*This post was originally published on this site March 2011

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