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Experiments and Lessons Learned in Social Media – Part V

Jonathan Crow of ThinkFree recently conducted what he calls “The Great Social Experiment,” where he tested the art of online social networking to evaluate whether or not joining the conversation across popular online communities would benefit his company.Crow created a roundtable featuring Chris Brogan, Aaron Brazell, Cathryn Hrudicka, Doug Haslam, and me to offer feedback, constructive criticism, and advice to help ThinkFree and other companies learn from his experiment.

Before you read below, make sure to first read, “The Art and Science of Social Media and Community Relations.”

Question 5. How can I build better mechanisms into the framework to increase feedback?

We’ve all heard that participation is marketing. As well, we’ve seen the banner that reads conversations are marketing.


So, what about relationships?

We speak of building mechanisms into frameworks and while we search for the right answers, we’re overshooting the very thing that Social Media revolves around, people.

Social Media isn’t a catalyst to summon marketing for marketing’s sake. It’s an opportunity to engage with groups of people by tapping into conversations that mutually serve the benefits of the very people we wish to reach.

The key is participation and I define participation as the ante that’s determined by each distinct community. The minimum investment to play is sincerity, authenticity, trustworthiness, and genuine intent.

Answer the following questions.

What do you want to get out of each network and why should people care about your involvement?

Then identify those you want to reach by monitoring the very conversations you wish to join. They’re not lining up to hear from you…I’m just saying.

There must be value associated with the dialog as most are seeds for potential relationships.

But, these things take time, focus, and nurturing. This isn’t broadcast marketing. This is one-to-one discussions that can provide incredible value back to you and your company as long as the rules of engagement are clear and not manipulated.Social networks provide the foundation for one-to-one interactions and even one-to-many without losing its openness, as long as the intent is clear and honest.

Basically everything comes down to how you relate to the communities you wish to embrace and in turn, how they embrace you and your involvement. It’s pretty natural to enhance feedback when your stature in each community represents your investment.

It takes time, patience, sincerity, and value. This is about relationships and it’s much bigger and more relevant than just you and the company you represent.

Again, companies will earn the relationships they deserve.

This is about people and the evolution of business marketing, from broadcast to interaction, from marketing to solutions.

Click here to read the responses from the entire roundtable.
The Art and Science of Social Media and Community Relations
Experiments and Lessons Learned in Social Media Part I
Experiments and Lessons Learned in Social Media Part II
Experiments and Lessons Learned in Social Media Part III
Experiments and Lessons Learned in Social Media Part IV
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