Social Media – #sy (Simon Young) – My Opinion

Much like SEO marketing, most of its pretty much abiding by a few simple rules, however there seem to be those who really get on the band wagon, enjoy doing things, and raking in big money for it.

Whilst some Social Media Marketing does work, and does bring in business, you cant forget core values of marketing. things like having a target market rather than just going viral (does anyone recall #moonfruit? ok what did their company actually do? don’t remember? don’t worry, nobody else does either!) .

A few days back the #sy tag started showing up on twitter, people just appended it randomly to any old sentence it seems. Unsure about other people but i dont live my entire life on twitter so somewhere along the line i missed what the heck it was all about.
It seems i wasn’t the only one! I asked a couple of times what it was about with no answer, as it seems did quiet a few others. The most we got told was ‘all will be revealed Friday night!’ etc and similar.

Once a few people started doing it everyone jumped on the bandwagon, in fact i saw a couple of tweets saying ‘no idea why i changed my avatar to have #sy, i have no idea what it is, everyone else was doing it!’. Others thought something big and cool was coming also but didnt know what it was.
I got an invite to something on facebook which, again, failed to say anything about what it was other than ‘Race to Carista’ which meant nothing to me at all, and to watch the #sy hashtag on twitter.

About 24-48 hours out from the ‘main event’ i saw more and more people getting pissed off with all the mentions of #sy and no idea what it was, one went as far as unfollowing anyone using the hashtag, and others were getting rather annoyed at the whole thing.
I noticed that generally people aged 12-30 were on the #sy bandwagon (students, etc) and that people from 30ish upwards were the ones generally more annoyed at the spammyness.

Finally Friday rolles around, and we get told its just a Media Company http://www.ijump.co.nz renaming their company, oh yeah and the Carista thing was some house for sale. They wanted to prove how effective Social Media was by having people in the house and doing live stuff online whilst showing off an expensive house which was for sale (re-worded in my own words).

Now, heres what went wrong (in my opinion). Only a select few seemed to know or get an invite into this house and were told ahead of time, how can you advertise something without letting people know WHAT you are advertising? if people ask, at least give them a teaser of something to look forward too.
Secondly, its a house worth at least $1,000,000 – Target market would be either business people with a bit of money, of family etc. majority of the people on twitter i saw whom went, did not have that kind of money, and were not in the market for a house. Whilst there may have been people at the house who were interested, how did they relate to twitter? How did it relate to all those who had been using the #sy tag and were waiting for something exciting to happen?
There were about 3 or 4 people tweeting with the #sy tag, the entire thing was pretty disjointed cut down versions of what i’m sure were riveting speeches. With 140 Chars the message just didn’t make it.
I had a few people dm me asking me what it was about, what was going on, and were very disappointed that they had changed avatar, somehow got roped into something that never happened.
The problem here was they advertised it as something twitter based, when in fact there was very little twitter interaction at all, and no socializing at all to do with twitter, anyone who asked questions were ignored pretty much.
As one person said to me “I was curious about what they were up to – but after being all mysterious, just turns out to be some navel gazing for the selected few”

Now this there is a lot of harping on about how Social Media is going to be the new magic on your business, and with a few golden rules which are pretty much common sense. I don’t believe you need a course to learn it, though having one person working for a company who knows what they are doing and has the right personality is definitely advised (if you have an employee who already does so, by all means use them!)
Be friendly.
Don’t do generic auto tweets or bots.
Don’t argue with people or put them down (what you say reflects on your company).
Try and keep the same person/people on deck and make them helpful, friendly, and let them interact and personalize it .
Its called social networking for a reason, its socializing, not an advertising platform like a newspaper, tv, or magazine, hence why the different rules.

I must stress, these are very much my own opinions and impressions, and i do not dislike or have any grudges or mean any insult to those involved at all, it was more a deconstruction and interpretation of what i saw happen. A lot of the people involved were people i consider friends, and i mean no disrespect at all to them, or anyone else.
Because i realize there may be some personal fallout for me because of the blog post, i have respected those who i talked to privately and left their names off, feel free to voice your own opinion here.
ps. Still unsure what the ‘Race’ was in the ‘Race to Carista’

Everyones talking about it – the old man of IT?

So there is this article at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/small-business/news/article.cfm?c_id=85&objectid=10599533
Patrick Kershaw works in IT, and apparently believes that twitter is no good for marketing. Whilst im sure hes a nice person, and great at his job, i wonder if hes based his opinions on trial at all?

Whilst anyone who’s been on twitter realizes there are a couple of profiles about that tend to fit most businesses & people online.

The Talker

There are the celebrities who just post to raise profile and, according to Patrick “personalise”, and generally more often than not show fans they are just  normal people, in fact often small minded and somewhat clueless. I have to admit however, some celebs have actually proven they are better than i originally thought! More often than not they post and never reply to anyone. They may have over 1,000,000 watchers, but only watch 90 or so people themselves, proving in effect that a) they dont care much for your opinion anyway, and b) its really impossible to keep up with that many people!

Spammers

These are the people that just mass follow people, and spam their link any way they can. Often bots, but occasionally some person has it in their head and heard that twitter was good for marketing and just spams all their followers till they get blocked.

Normal People

These are your every day people, some get along, some don’t. They come to socialize and generally “hang out”

Pets

These are usually done by “Normal People” who just thought it would be funny to have a pet stream. Depending on how ‘funny’ they are is how many followers.

Legitimate Businesses

Now this is where we come down to the biggie. According to Patrick this just doesn’t make money and bring in people other than a particular market. Im confused where he gets his information here because i travelled from Cambridge to Auckland just to visit @thewinevault – and i dont even drink, I have however recommended him to many who do. I happen to know hes extremely well liked because hes NOT actively trying to spam his website and business all the time, but takes the time to talk to people as a normal person.

Ive seen @rgoodchild procure a lot of business and interesting ideas for her own businesses and her website http://www.askrachel.co.nz , ive seen a group of 20-30 people turn up at @giapo ice cream parlour on queen street because they talked regularly on twitter (and often im seeing people tweet about his ice cream!).

Then there is of course the bigger players, @vodafonenz who almost caused mutiny when they handed his twitter account over to marketing the 3g guy.   I firmly believe he fixes more problems on twitter than the customer support currently, and in 1/8th of the time. He’s the first place i go for support when i have a problem, and one of the best things vodafone ever did for company image.

Until recently i had never heard of idealog magazine ( @idealogmag & yes i dont get out much!), however having spoken to many of their employees online i even bought a copy recently.

If i ever need diet advice the first person i go to is @RealNutrition ( http://www.realnutrients.co.nz/ ) who is not only friendly, but not overly pushy about marketing.

And not to forget @THEFALLSNZ ( http://www.thefalls.co.nz/ ) who is hosting the next ‘tweetup’ and can pretty much guaruntee a party of at least 30 people or more! http://ow.ly/qaGW

@coupdemain from http://www.coupdemainmagazine.com say “we would be nothing without twitter. twitter is pretty much THE reason we had like 164,386 hits on our site last week.” (link)

So to most people on twitter, who move with the times. Patrick seems to sound somewhat like that proverbial old man down the road who lives in the dark ages, refusing to accept new technology.

Quick update note: Im a system administrator by trade, i run servers (web/mail/etc).  I dont have my own company but do web hosting for friends, and friends of friends. I’ve had more website hosting requests in the last 6 months than i can keep up with , and had to automate things as if i was a proper company. This is business purely based on twitter, my prices are nothing fancy, about the same as any other decent hosting company, and to be fair because im so busy im often slow on the update to respond to any requests. Most people see my twitter stream and realize that im actually busy not ignoring them, and dont appear to have a problem (though im trying to automate things to save the lagg!)