SES & Social Media Strategy: what happened to ethics?! (A rant)
I was all set to cover the Social Media Success panel at SES Toronto. I was excited to see how I could apply my New Media & Strategy background to generate higher traffic and ranking. Little did I know what would be said in that panel.
Details: It should have been called “What not to do in Social Media.”
- Marshall Clark, Director of Search, Organic
- Stephan Spencer, Founder & President, Netconcepts, LLC
- Liana Evans, Director of Internet Marketing, KeyRelevance
- Marty Weintraub, President, aimClear
I was especially looking forward hearing Mitch Joel speak because I have been reading his blog for a while, and he is definitely one of the brightest voices in the Social Media & Marketing space. I also love his work at PodCamp. You should definitely subscribe to both his blog posts and his podcasts.
SECRETS DON’T MAKE FRIENDS
YOU CAN’T MAKE PEOPLE CARE
At this point, I was visibly appalled and judging by the expression on his face, so was Mitch. Joey DeVilla, the who was also liveblogging echoed my sentiments. I couldn’t believe this was the advice that was being given to people! I mean seriously, so you’ve got two thousand friends but SO WHAT?
YOU CAN’T FAKE REPUTATION
Stephan also had a lot to say about “building credibility” on sites like Wikipedia, so that you can use the influence to negotiate with Digg Power users and other social networking superstars who will then push your content in exchange for you helping them out on. So in exchange for Digging your article, you’ll help them set up an article on wikipedia. That’s all fine and good but if you’re going to negotiate posting content based on a corporate agenda, then you’re going to lose all the “street cred” you’ve worked so hard to build. People will see your intentions aren’t authentic.
My Take: Defending the Social Media Space
Here are my personal pillars of Social Media- and what I wish I could have told all those people in that room taking notes today. I say this as a blogger, a content creator, a consumer and a human being. I also say this in defense of the countless of corporations and people like Mitch, and Joey and Amber who are putting time and effort into creating truly value adding content to the web.
Social media is about meaningful conversation – do you run into a party where there are people you’ve never met and start screaming in their faces about something you’re selling or something that you want? No. (If you do, then you probably have bigger problems than social media strategy) What you do is probably walk in take a look around, listen to the conversations, approach different groups and then add something meaningful into the conversation. If you’re not bringing anything of value to the table, then you probably shouldn’t be saying anything at all.
Meaningful conversation takes trust- The old bait & switch doesn’t really work with people on the internet. At least not for long. You can’t pretend to care about what they’re saying and then a short while later reveal your true intent to sell them something or manipulate them. Trust means you give and take. You share what you know with others and help others when you can. Relationships both online and offline are forged by trust, and by a track record of authentic actions. You might be able to fool people in the short-term but the long term damage to your reputation might take longer than you think to fix.
Trust requires authenticity – Who you are online and offline should be pretty close. Don’t pretend to be something or someone that you’re not. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Authenticity means that when you engage me in conversation, that you have a pure intent. You are actually interested in what I have to say and value my conversation
The internet has a short attention span and a long memory. Be smart. Treat your consumers like idiots and they won’t stick around for long.