Monday, September 17, 2012

Fun Definition of Social Media

While reading “How to Make Money with Social Media” by Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah, Ph.D., I came across a fun definition of social media and thought I’d share it with you.

“What is social media? You can find dozens of answers on the Internet, some helpful and some flat wrong. But for our purposes, social media are the digital tools that enable a two-way conversation between your prospects or customers and your business.

Unfortunately, most businesses are social media for one-way monologues instead of two-way dialogues. This brings us to our first analogy:

Social media is more like a telephone than a megaphone.

Businesses that use social media as a megaphone are missing the point. You know the kind we’re talking about. They’re the businesses (or consultants) that can’t stop talking about themselves and what makes their products or services special.

Now let’s take that analogy a step further. If using social media is similar to using a telephone, then what is Facebook like? Or LinkedIn? Or Twitter?

• Facebook is like a pub. It’s a casual place where you can go to talk about what you did over the weekend, tell a dirty joke, or tell people about the checkers convention you attended last week.

• LinkedIn is like a trade show. You wouldn’t tell people at a trade show what you did in Vegas last weekend, would you? Limit LinkedIn to your professional side. Talk about business. Talk about interesting articles in the Harvard Business Review. And use plenty of phrases such as “value chain” and “business model” in your profile. That should do the trick.

• Twitter is like a cocktail party. Just be sure you send out tweets that are helpful. New Tweeple make the mistake of taking Twitter seriously when its home page asks, “What are you doing now?” Well, we’ve got some bad news for you. Nobody cares what you are doing now. They care about information that will help them in their daily lives. So stick with helpful tweets that will position you (or your company) as an expert, drive people to a landing page on your site, or promote someone else in your industry who will someday return the favor.

• YouTube is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Times Square on New Year’s Eve is packed with people clamoring for attention, which illustrates the problem. Just as it’s hard to stand out in Times Square, it’s hard to stand out on YouTube. Too much competition exists. [You’ll have to read the book to find out their solution.]

• MySpace is like Woodstock. MySpace has suffered the same fate as AOL – it was huge at one time, but it has faded a little during the past few years. That said, MySpace still provides some very good uses. If you’re a musician or a cause-oriented marketer, you should be all over MySpace. But if you’re selling industrial widgets in the B2B space, you should do two things: 1) avoid MySpace like the plague and 2) think about getting a new job, because selling industrial widgets in the B2B space sounds like a terribly boring job.”

Taken from “How to Make Money with Social Media: An Insider’s Guide on Using New and Emerging Media to Grow Your Business” by Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah, Ph.D. FT Press, 2011. Pgs. 34-36. More info at