Monday, June 13, 2011

How Not To Use Social Media

Thinking of using social media to build your brand? This week, I was struck by four different approaches - two that seem to work really well, and two that were really poor. Let's see if I can summarize.

The good approaches I noticed are being used by two entrepreneurs who are building brands based on inspiring other women to become successful -- successful in life, successful in business, successful as entrepreneurs. These women are Tory Johnson and Jane Pollak. Tory Johnson is an inspirational speaker who puts on major events. I learned about her through another woman entrepreneur and speaking coach, Ruth Sherman. Jane Pollak is an entrepreneur, speaker and author whom I met over 15 years ago at the Entrepreneurial Women's Network. Jane started out as an artist creating exquisite dyed eggs.

Tory Johnson is using LinkedIn brilliantly. She posts truly excellent questions. She has myriad categories of discussions going on, and she has her many fans and followers posting questions and starting discussions. One of these followers suggested that we all share our professional Facebook pages via that particular LinkedIn conversation. Fabulous idea! As soon as I did this, I had more followers of all sorts. ( 

Jane Pollak has a blog connected to her website. The blog is, in turn, connected to her Twitter account. I saw a great topic on Twitter that she had posted -- What I've learned in 3 Years of Blogging. The biggest lesson I learned by reading the blog post was that Jane had learned to be disciplined. She makes sure that she posts on a regular basis, unlike me. I only post when I have the time to think of something that that I believe will be valuable to others. But Jane posts stuff that has lessons for life and starts conversations on a regular basis. This provided inspiration to me. She has learned to create a virtuous circle.

Aren't we all seeking to create virtuous marketing circles that build our brands? Aren't we seeking to start conversations? To me, that is one of the beauties of social media. It's interactive. It can serve to build relationships.

The examples of how not to use social media come from major corporations and a politician. So many corporations are trying to engage their customers in relationships and dialogues, but frankly, the copy almost always sound chirpy or just plain canned and corporate. Too much thought, too much editing, too much corporate speak. It cloys at me. When I see a LinkedIn site or Facebook page that poses a question, and I see that it's from a corporate employee, it's almost always a question that is self-serving. (Entrepreneurs do this, too.)

If we're going to talk to consumers, I believe we need to seek real opinions. We need to listen.

Of course, I know you're going to guess right away about who the politician is. Weiner not only Tweeted lewd photos, his political Tweets on Twitter were always destructive and disruptive. He openly said he was out to be disruptive to the Tea Party's Tweets and activities.

Our nation is in a state now when we need to be trying to work together - not tear each other down. Social media should be used by politicians to get a better pulse on the electorate and to let the electorate know more about where these public officials stand. Let's use social media to come together and solve some problems.

Read more:
What Marketers Can Learn From Weiner-Gate | Bob Garfield - Advertising Age

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