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Posts Tagged ‘newmediacincy’

Explaining Social Media to Businesses in 2 Words.

Posted by Marjorie Signer on May 12, 2009

As I was enjoying my visit to the New Media Cincy Unconference(#newmediacincy)trend setter and uber-successful marketing queen of all things important to women Debba Haupert (@girlfriendology) asked “How do you explain social media to your clients when you say the word Twitter and they look at you like you’ve just begun speaking Martian?”

 Giggling, Sara Carbaugh (@rightclickos) and I looked at one another and in unison said “You Don’t!”

Now that’s a pretty flippant answer and wholly unsocial for two gals standing in the middle of 60 people who use a dozen or more platforms to socialize 24/7. But the fact that we both said it so quickly tells an awful lot about the growing divide between businesses who “get it” and those that don’t.

 So what’s the more gentle and persuasive way to shepherd our 20th Century colleagues into the light?  Here’s a quick and dirty summary of what social media can mean to business and the single most compelling reason your friendly neighborhood business owners should care:

Many thanks to Brian Solis for these wonderfully clear definitions:

Social Media (noun): social media describes the onlinetools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, thus facilitating conversations and interaction online between groups of people. These tools include blogs, message boards, podcasts, micro blogs, lifestreams, bookmarks, networks, communities, wikis, and vlogs.

 Social Media (verb): is the democratization of content and the understanding of the role people play in the process of not only reading and disseminating information, but also how they share and create content for others to participate. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in a conversational format between authors and people.

In a nutshell, social media breaks down the walls of authority, hierarchy and secrecy and gives all people, regardless of race, creed, culture, economic status, or education the opportunity to share their opinion. More importantly, social media affords us all an opportunity to participate in robust discussions that will hopefully bring many truths to light and dispel many myths.  

The impact social media has on business can be summed up in 2 words. Customer Confidence.

We heard an awful lot about this term a few months ago when the economy took its long walk off a short pier. At the end of the day, customers don’t buy products they don’t believe in and clients don’t do business with companies they don’t trust.

Engaging in conversation with the world using social media tools builds trust. Plain and simple. How you ask? We’ll cross that bridge tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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What to do when you find yourself in a room full of people just like you.

Posted by Marjorie Signer on May 11, 2009

This Saturday, I had the good fortune of being invited to participate in the New Media Cincinnati unconference. This is a great group of 60+ technology mavens who are actively engaged in blogging, podcasting, internet streaming and building online networks of people who they can learn from and who can learn from them. Meetings are every second Saturday of the month and are free to attend. (Check out http://newmediacincinnati.com/ for more info) 

#newmediacincy discussion group

#newmediacincy discussion group

The advantage of spending time with these folks is that they are all familiar with the new media tools that are out there and everyday they find new ways to make the tools easier to use and more effective. And most importantly, they don’t hold their tips and tricks too close to their vest. If you know the right questions to ask, they will happily explain what they are doing, how they are doing it and what benefits they receive from their time.

For 99.9% of business owners today, the fact that this group is willing to share what they’ve learned is more than enough reason to clear a few hours in the ole’ schedule and attend the meetings. But as I walked between the different discussions, I noticed something very interesting. 

80% of those in attendance were Marketing professionals of some make or model. Another 10% were artists and graphic designers and the final 10% were computer programming gurus. Now granted these aren’t exact numbers and we certainly had some guests that were outside these three categories, but the point remains the same. Very few business owners are both aware of the group and understand the value it could bring to their business.

I find it interesting that even though the news is filled with reports of how social media and new media technologies are evolving and expanding and I don’t think anyone is out there arguing that they will prove to be a “flash in the pan,” traditional business owners are still reluctant to spend time really learning about the intricacies and nuances of these mediums and engage face-to face with people who are in deeply imbedded in the movement. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of time or a lack of awareness of the groups who have converged to discuss these topics that keeps traditional business owners away, but I believe the onus on us, the technologically savvy, to reach out and make a point of inviting non-geeks to join us.

Marketing has often been looked upon by CEOs as a necessary evil. A black art that rarely produces measurable results and often costs more than they want to spend, but social and new media has the power to change that perception. We now live in a brave new world that gives us the opportunity to use multiple levels of analytics and metrics to prove impact, but first we must show our friendly local businesses that the key to unlocking a flood of opportunity lies with their participation.

Join me in the movement to invite and include more good ole’ fashioned CEO’s in the technology movement. Together we can improve business opportunities across our economy, throughout our community and in our own shops.

Tweet about NewMediaCincy, make mention of it on LinkedIn and Facebook, but most importantly, reach out and have phone conversations, or better yet, stop by and see a business owner you know in person and personally invite them to join newmediacincinnati or another group like it and be involved with the revolution. Without all of us participating together, none of us will truly succeed.

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