Strong opinions and passion. Those would be the underlying themes of the last Unpanel hosted by Scott Stratten. Why those two themes? Well the topic was what are the best practices for companies to build their audiences using Social Media and indeed there were some stong opinions and points of views.
The first question of what was the process for companies to start creating an audience digitally got things started right away with opinions and comments that ranged from, “get right in front of them in their preferred channels”, to using personal social networks and to work out or expand from there. However, the trick might be to try and determine what channels or networks your audience prefers. The bottom line, the consensus seemed to be that everyone had to listen first to find and locate the audience that you want to convert. But once they are located, listen passively then participate actively! Give them value above and beyond anything else!
The next question was should companies automate some, all or none of the process probably generated the most heated and passionate responses. Some said no, need to keep it personal, while others said that if you grow quickly then you might need to automate. Though some were of the mindset that automation kills the process or purpose of connecting with people-which in a sense is the essence of social media. but…
What can large companies do to retain the essence of social media on an enterprise level? Perhaps that is worthy of it’s own blog post?
At the end of the day there needs to be a balance of quantity and quality but with a certain level of engagement. Large or small, you still need to engage, this isn’t about collecting names. Some may treat it like “name” farming but it’s the companies that develop relationships that will win. Suffice it with this, “auto anything on Twitter” for example defeats the purpose of social media and a company thats buying followers, isn’t gaining a sale.
Methods seemed to have been as much at issue here as was the type of engagement but it segued to the last question of the session which was where should a corporation build followers of current and potential customers, and why? a checklist was what were looking for. However the convo lingered on Q2 for a bit longer and that was because of the strong opinions that everyone had on the auto follow debate.
Right out of the blocks came this comment: Sometimes brands create their audience and don’t necessarily find them. Interesting point/observation. This comment came rolling in which someone said, “Define the key themes that resonate with the brand and then use Social media search tools to discover where & who is discussing them. A great point! Followed by you can’t be everywhere at one so,”fish where the fish are swimming”, but have a ‘social home’, create action that drives people to you.
Scott though asked a great follow up in which he poses, If your market isn’t fully on Twitter (or FB), should you build a home on it before they and your competition come? I venture to say yes.
But if companies are going to engage consumers in Social Media, should they request your social media info? Twitter name, etc? Great follow up question by Scott. The answers ranged from; If they have it yes, why not? To,” there has to be a level of trust”.
Bottom line to this very engaging and frantic discussion is this…
As a company you have to be proactive in social media not reactive.
Next week’s host; David Alston of Radian 6
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