Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Birdie In the Mirror

I saw a bird in my yard pecking at her own image in a mirror repeatedly this afternoon. At first, it was funny. She came and gave a look at the bird in the mirror, fluttered her wings to scare it, pecked at it from all heights. Then she left, sneaked back to check if her opponent was gone!

I have been working on a social media plan for work very obsessively focused getting input from many internal teams excited to "do social". So naturally I saw the parallel with companies doing social. Well, now you know what this post is about, read on if it interests you!!!

Watching the bird hit me - All Social Media campaigns which are not listening are all birds in the mirror.

Companies plan elaborate tweets to push their product information. They build plans and schedules and execute the campaigns with their small set of friendies and PR support. The get metrics, report internally but no new real customers and don't move the needle of their business.

They are like birds looking at themselves in the mirror! Whatever they do, they see an impact, they stare and the birdie stares back, they fly high and the birdie flies back.
They get RTs and reach numbers to quote but are looking at echos of their own push messages.

Real Social Media is about conversation!

Each of us has a personal communication style as unique as ourselves. Some are short, some curt, some prolonged, some courteous, they all count if you have a listener and you engage in a conversation.

Same is true for social media. Chat with your ecosystem, and if they care and listen and engage back, you are on a path to success.

So if you are like me planning your social media plan for a company, build listening campaigns if you need a campaign for focused tracking. Some initial ideas about listening campaigns are:

1. Set 30 min of your time to engage with your users and listen and help them where you can, share your excitement for their success. You will be surprised to make real friends of your customers who care and appreciate you, the real human representing your brand.

I remember my customers at Dash Navigation who appreciated the conversation and would go to great lengths to help be our advocates with media folks to do test runs in traffic with our product, a traffic telling GPS device.

2. Plan a fun campaign to engage your users on issues that they need help with. I am thinking of this as your FAQ on your web site but on steroids. Engage in a conversation to answer FAQ questions but with real user. The trick is to go on till you find the first real user who has a real question.

3. Start a Tweetchat. SAP called these online meetups. These are events with programming, speakers and schedules but on social media. There are several variations of them. Again keep them as a conversation not as a broadcast.

I hope this is the start of a fun conversation between you, me and likeminded folks who care about listening and customer engagement. Please share your suggestions/examples of listening campaigns. Post a comment below of tweet me @sujamthe.

I am looking forward to our conversation about social media conversations (Ah I like how that sounds)