The Tao of Twitter

We had a special guest in my social media class today!  He’s the author of The Tao of Twitter, which finally convinced me to start tweeting, and Return on Influence.  Both of which I’ve read and enjoyed.  If you’re interested in using social media to spread an idea, brand or anything, I highly suggest reading these.

Mark Schaefer is a master communicator, and I’m not just saying that to talk-up a professional with connections.  Based on his books, social media and today’s presentation, Mark Schaefer knows how to get a point across and make a few friends while doing it!

If he can get an idea across to a student who has been awake since 1 a.m. studying foreign policy, I’d say he’s a strong communicator.  But, if he was able to fit three ideas into a sleep deprived brain filled with post Cold War foreign policy, I’d say he’s a great communicator.

So those three things Schaefer taught me are the top three things to know about social media.

  • Humans buy from other humans

If you’re having problems with your phone, would you rather call your cellphone company’s annoying customer service line or go down the street to the person you bought the phone from and get help? I think most of use would chose the second option because we’d rather talk to a person, not a machine. People want to buy person to person and get immediate results.

  • Relationships with brands are built the same way friendships develop

The example Mark Schaefer used was being in kindergarden your first day.  You’re nervous and you don’t know anyone.  But as the year goes on, you share little interactions like playing foursquare until someone decides they like you enough to invite you to a birthday party.

Just like in this example, building a relationship with a brand begins with small interactions (Facebook likes and Twitter followers) until they begin to promote your brand (Facebook shares and comments, Twitter mentions and retweets).  But customer support like this has to be earned.

  • Content

Providing valuable and rewarding content is key in social media.  If a brand, person or organization can provide valuable and rewarding content its reputation will benefit and as more people tune in, the more likely it is that people will start to promote your brand for you!

Oh, and here’s a photo my social media professor posted from the school’s Facebook.  Of course, I’m the one awkwardly placed in the back corner right in front of Mark Schaefer.

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