my love/hate relationship with social media – list

Here’s a list of things that makes me go insane around this fantastic area that I have been calling my professional business life for the last 5 years: social media, social marketing and viral effects. I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  It has just gotten so incredibly overhyped that what I do mostly these days is to put out fires for companies who has had some really bad advice from consultants and agencies who really wanted to sell a social media products because it’s so HAWT – and unfortunately it means that they end up with an angry customer because they have no idea what they are doing. Anyway here’s my list (it’s a bit of a rant so look out)

– Next time I meet a person at a network event that pulls me over and says “it’s not something I normally say – but I am pretty sure that I was one of the first people on twitter and facebook”, I will first laugh hilariously and then start to cry…

– On the other hand I can’t express the joy I get inside when a company is telling me “we use the social web because it’s the funniest, most creative and smartest thing to do for us”.

– So.. is it really necessary to have a twitter or a facebook strategy ? In my view these are just tools that you can use (either correct or upside down) to support your business strategy.

– If i see another hand-out from an agency where the product actually becomes “how many different products you can implement to listen to the internet and hear what they are saying about your brand” I will shout these words: “google alerts can do most of it for you”

– If I ever again attend a “social media afternoon” where the knowledge the speakers have on social media is mostly case studies and not hands-on practical advice – I will get really mad and storm out.

– I think creativity is the most important thing in social media and what you really need to work around as a company. I also believe that organisations such as social media club (disclaimer I am the initiator + one of the planners of Social Media Club Copenhagen)  can provide a system where we can learn from each other – and not just show off our cool stuff (and cool clients + ourselves =).

Give your point of view, because you can – damn it =)

I was at a Marina and the Diamonds concert yesterday. It was a mixed experience but overall it was really good inspiration – anyway she did a cover version of starstrukk at the concert that I previously listened to online.

it goes a littl’ something like this:

Now – until today, I haven’t heard the “real” version and I was awestruck at how different it where. It’s not my type of song at all.

I think the cover version by Marina is so much better. Sometimes songs and content in general can be interpreted differently by who’s saying it and how they have added their own point of view. What are you waiting for ?

Involvement needs to come from yourself.

I just wrote a picturesque blogpost on my danish social media blog on amino.dk, I normally don’t do this, but I think the blogpost was really cool so I decided to translate it and crosspost it here.

it’s about involvement/engaging people – which in my opinion is starting to get as much of a buzzword as social media is. To me it’s quite bizarre because I have been in this creative game for a long time, I have gone from people thinking that I was completely crazy talking about “community marketing” and “the power of online relationships” and how it could be used for business, and then now where everything I have been working at, for a while suddently is so HAWT and the talk of the town. I guess this is a post that is a warning on how you shouldn’t teach people to “involve” people in your brand. It’s a raised finger and a “be careful” because as far I am concerned, it’s taking the beauty and the substance out of engaging and involving people.

Anyway here goes:

There’s so many people that suddently talks about social media and involvement – it’s everywhere ! and even though it’s a joy to me I can also see it exploding in the face of business anytime- in a bad way. Im a person with a deep drive to make a difference in this fantastic and creative world of social marketing, where I earn my money for my cornflakes and my sugar everyday. There’s a lot of people that are wondering how you can use this  “social media” that in my point of view does one thing and one thing only: they get you closer to people. If these people are clients, suppliers or potential clients really isn’t the point here. It’s probably a simplistic way of looking at social media, and of course there’s a lot of creme de la creme around it so it becomes sweet and cool and hawt and iphone/facebook/twitter hyped- BUT if you think about this as the only thing that social media does – then it also becomes easier to work around as a company.

Let’s say that you (as a company) is standing right in front of a potential client. You can even see in each others eyes and it looks like a person you would be interested in having in your company network, and maybe selling a product or two. because you are so close to each other, you can hear what he says, and he can hear what you say – even though if he’s not speaking directly to you – but to his network that has the same relation to this fine gentleman as you have.

Now, normally you would be expecting that it’s you that needs to open you mouth and say something smart. But what you say is something like “come and be a fan of my facebook page/follow me on twitter and get 100 dollars discount on your next purchase in my online shop or have the opportunity to win a trip to New York (or if you see it my way what it says is “please buy something – anything really”). Maybe it even is said in a way called “page suggestion” where you don’t even take our time to write a personal note to the person receiving the suggestion – I guess  you’re super busy running your business or something. The potential client is thinking “well it might not hurt to be a fan of this company that I don’t know that well”. He get’s some totally pointless updates about a company that doesn’t provide any value whatsoever to the people receiving the update. And within a span of a couple of weeks the potentiel client, now turned “fan” is not a fan anymore – he is in fact the opposite thinking that this company is wasting his time. He didn’t any value. You on the other hand, got a lot of might and glory by adding another fan to your following of empty talk and no value, Whatever that means.

And then we rewind the tape.

Again you are standing in front of this person. you can hear what he says but it’s not directed to you – it’s directed to his whole network. You are just about to open you mouth and say something that would be “good for business” – but then Henriette tells you that you need to wait and listen to what he says first. Put yourself in his place, talk to him. comment on the things that are important to him. Support him and show him of on your blog because you think he’s super cool.  Tell him why you are following him on twitter or whereever, be personal, invite him as a guest of honor for your next exclusive champagne and cupcake party. Involvement is about how you involve people. How you become a cool brand. But the involvement needs to come from you first, in a way where you give and give and give, because it’s by spoiling your network and the people who are interested/potentially interested in you and your company that the involvement that-you-want-so-bad-it-hurts actually comes up.

This closeness with your network means that you can’t use it for business as usual. You can’t be not-personal and noisy. You have to proactively involve yourself in your network, before the people in your network will involve themselves in you, your brand and your activities. You need to earn every one of your facebook page fans or twitter followers – you need to involve yourself in them and be proactive about it. In that exact way you create the involvement that is oh-my-so-hawt-right-now. They will follow and involve themselves  because you are a company that cares and provide value for them by facilitating their interest and keep on showing them to the rest of your network.

It sounds hard – and it is! – it’s different – it’s hippie-ish it’s rock n’roll and it takes A LOT of creativity. And it’s sooo much fun..

introducing my first book: Return on involvement

the cover of return on involvement

So a couple of nights ago I decided to do it – give the pressrelease of my book “return on involvement”, and the date of the launch of the book to the public. Danish press release here and google translation of press release here. It feels great to launch and give the date of when you can get the book in the bookstores (august 31st 2009) still there is a lot of stuff PR and marketing wise that needs to be done (oh and the logistics=).

the proces of “return on involvement”- the book

I think it’s been a great ride, but it’s been a tough baby to bear, I guess I knew I had to do it on my own when my ex-editor told me that she didn’t think it was time for me to publish a book, i should be doing other stuff. Now one of the first triggers to get me going is when people tell me what I can and what I can’t do, I just knew that I had to get this book out of my system – and right away.

“Return on involvement” to me is something that’s missing out there. Not focusing on the social tools (to me they are 10% of social marketing and branding), not to focus on why you need to do it, but simply to give people an overview on what it takes (and it takes a bit) and how they create business unusual, the type of business I find is most suited for what I call the “anarchistic ways of the internet”. So “Return on involvement” been a fun progress – it has a bit of everything I have been working on for the last couple of years – rockbandism, tools, identity, revolutions, movement, marketing, branding – stuff like that.

The best that I have taken with me from writing this book is the process of it. It was hard work (not just hard- but darn hard), and yet I still know what my next book will be about, I have even started to structure it in my mind, which is scary because I have promised myself that I need to take care of myself after this first insane project.

I have a saying that I can only take care of one baby at the time – now up is my health (I need to loose weight and these days I am loosing weight as we speak =), next up I am gonna ruin my weightloss by having another real baby. (Princess P is 5 now and tired of not having any siblings), heck I might even do 2 babies in a row (aka. weightloss probably pretty much ruined).

Also if you want to know more about the bookwriting process – I did a summary a couple of weeks ago

There’s gonna be a launch party of “return on involvement” on the 28th of August where all of the internet is invited.. So I hope to see you there.. be-fan the book at facebook if you want to know more.

ps. crossposted on toothlesstiger.com

My process of writing my first book

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Today I write history – well a little bit of my own history that calls for champagne, dancing and a bunch of laughter- I uploaded the free introduction to my book called “return on involvement – how to use the social web to create business unusual” (in danish only so far – sorry non-danishspeaking people). The book in itself is going to be available for purchase medio june. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the process of writing this sucker =). It started out in January 2008 where I decided that I needed to put all my thoughts on the social web and business down in a structured format – which became known in my head as “the book”.

When the first draft of the book was finished – A danish publising house contacted me because they where curious about the book. We arranged for a meeting, and after a couple of meetings – they decided they wanted to publish it – i was exstatic for a while but my smile soon faded. The book they wanted my book to be, where not the book that I had written.
they wanted a how-to book on social tools
I wanted to write a book about why social tools are necessary and what effect they can have on business – which meant no deal, they called it off first, but I am glad they did today.

A couple of days after I decided to do my own publishing house – Toothless Tiger Press , mainly because I could not see what my former publisher could provide me with at high cost, that I could buy myself and with a greater gain in the end. I don’t really think we are going to be having that many big publishing houses anymore – to me, what I have encountered that a publishing house does – doesn’t really have a place in todays world of connectedness on the internet. You have to transform and you have to transform big time. =) Toothless Tiger Press has been used as a platform for my own (only) free ebook on rockbandism so far.

In January I decided to add two more chapters to the book, in february the first round of editing started, march 2nd round of editing and in April my hands where off the manuscript and I could leave it in the hands of my excellent editor for the 3rd round of editing. These days it’s having it’s final layout, a last round of editing and then it hits the bookstores in Denmark. Meanwhile I have hired someone to translate it all to english – so you english speaking people won’t wait long ( we are talking mid-september or someting here)..

The absolutely hardest part for me, has been to let go of the book. In this area of work you can continue to work on it forever and ever. It was my wonderful husband who told me that if I didn’t stop adding stuff to this book he would go insane – and I really couldn’t have that on my shoulders. I am one of those people who are so terribly afraid of being un-original and not-that-genuine at all. So I really wanted to do my best. I think it has it – a bit of everything that I believe to be important, combined with a couple of why? how-to’s and best practice.

I hope you will all enjoy it when it launches both in danish and english !

a couple of reasons why I don’t want to engage in your brand online.

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1. you mainly do producttalk – so you got the conversation thing going on – apart from no one is answering.  you blog about your products, you blog about how great you are – and I don’t really care to ask why you do that. It just annoys me to pieces and I am out the door. Why don’t you tell us what makes you so great, why don’t you tell us what you are so passionate about that it wakes you up in the middle of the night ?

2. You don’t do cool stuff. Maybe you talk a lot. But you don’t really do anything cool as a brand. You don’t have a knitting community. Haven’t you heard ? everybody should have their own knitting community these days. If you can’t fit knitting into your branding – find something else that does good and resembles the knitting community – I have my coworking boat. Yep and it’s what people they talk to me about when we meet. Who cares about Henriette Weber or Toothless Tiger ? Let’s talk about the coolest boat around (shares still available btw).

3. you broadcast continously on  social media. Broadcasting can be ok – if it’s relevant for me and it gives me more of what you know. It gives me the unicorns, fluffy clouds and my little pony’s of you – it’s brilliant. If it’s out of context it’s pretty lame and more badwill than goodwill. Oh remember there is a reason that it’s called “conversational tools” right ? maybe it’s not meant for broadcasting then.

4. you think your better than your competitors and you continously highlight yourself.  again who cares ? tell me why you exist, tell me what you oppone against as a company and as a person. and act out why you are the smartest kid on the block, instead of just talking about it.

WTF should we ever engage ourselves in brands ?

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(CC) Brian Solis. www.briansolis.com. original photo

Im just back from next09 in Hamburg and Disruptive Media in Stockholm (you can find my talk here). It has been a hectic but really learningful week, filled with great people, great talks and new insights. This morning I watched one of my favorite speeches in a long time again: Brian Solis on “putting the public back in PR” – the reason I guess I find this talk at the top of my conference experience is because Brian is so right in my opinion (it reminds me of an old blogpost I did a couple of years back that some people was appauled by).  It leaves me to touch on something that I mentioned in my own talk at disruptive media – why should we ever engage ourself in a brand ? I mean:

1. a brand is not a person
2. brands are normally really boring
3. they normally don’t do anything in this world if they can’t measure it or can’t make money on it.

aka. they’re not human.

So why should we engage ourselves in brands ? Well first of all because of the utility and convinience they provide. but I think that Umair Haque (or Jeff Jarvis ? don’t remember) said it very well at next09. “the only reason we engage ourselves in brands is because they make us better”. The experience of the brand is  giving us some sort of value that we didn’t have before. The experience of the brand get’s us closer to our own personal truth (whatever that is)…

The great thing is that with social tools – it is so much more fun to create this involvement in the brandexperience – it’s not really easier, it still has to be a brilliant creative mind that comes up with the call-to-action for the involvement. The hardest thing is to find that magic something in your brand that people loves – and it might not be the thing you think it is – what are people  saying about you – and where?

Now the thing that people are already saying – might be what you need to start out with =) – now go ahead and engage some people

There’s no excuse for sucking online anymore

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We have so many online tools today. Basically I would claim that we have the tools to make us look as great online as we do offline these days. What you need to work on then, is how you look offline. It’s not about the internet anymore, it’s not about how we appear. It’s about what we truely and really are. Inside out. Outside in. There’s no excuse for sucking online anymore – everything is possible here. Now go work on yourself guys – that is where you will make the biggest difference – also online.

who needs targetgroups anyway ?

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I had an out-of-the-body-AHA-experience this morning. As a marketer, you have always been taught that you need to target your marketing to a targetgroup. In social marketing you focus much more on the single user instead of a “group”, and you don’t target a group anymore, because the chance that you actually are going to shoot and hit this target group is relatively small. If you have to target your marketing, target a lifestyle.

Seriously find out what lifestyle you want to be a part of, and become a part of it. Your product isn’t made for people between 14 and 25, it’s made for people between 14 and 25 that listens to depeche mode and has the ambition of becoming the no. 1 chef in the world. We’re so much more fragmented than a target group. If we think you’re cool and we identify ourselves with you – you got a date, awareness or other of those old school mumbo jumbo marketing words that is becoming more and exstinct as we speak.

Marketing has always stroke me as odd. It still does. It’s getting much much better though =)

coolness and substance in social media

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So I am doing a LOT of talking these days about social media marketing. Which in it’s essence isn’t really marketing, but it’s something on the combination of creativity and people. Actually it’s using a brand creatively to involving people in the brand. It’s good fun, I like it. Now I don’t want to come across as an old hag (well maybe Im beginning to be =). But to me, the medias in itself aren’t interesting. It’s what they can facilitate when they are used creatively that’s the really interesting part – not the media, the network, the effect of bringing people together around objects and brands they want to be involved in. Now that’s how I define social media marketing. And that’s what defines “social” in social objects, in social marketing, and in social media.

That’s what turns me on babies =)

You don’t do anything for people by if you open a twitter account, a facebook page, a blog, or what-have-you. You provide value for people if you can find the magic key to the social network and the involvement of the users. the magic key is coolness (do I dare to say rockbandism) and substance in your brand. Little pointers people can relate too and find fantastic =)

that’s all.