Yesterday, our organisation had an appreciation lunch for external partners whom we have worked with for the year. Our team invited the bloggers who have been faithfully contributing to our website FOC (save for the extra publicity). The most interesting thing I observed is that all the bloggers knew or knew of each other even before this meet up.
Other than the fact that they are all in the financial industry, I believe that as avid serious bloggers, they have also read each others’ work and either appreciate the content or challenge it. I was quite amused by the way they exchanged credentials. Hi! <blog name> and then with a silent nod of recognition, they shook hands. In fact, it didn’t take much to get them to sit together on the table and start chatting, as if they have known each other all their lives.
I wonder whether there would have been such a solidarity among strangers meeting for the first time compared to bloggers who never met each other but have gained an insight into the various personalities behind the blogs. It still amazes me how the online world can actually forge such bonds.
And also rather embarrassing too, if I were to meet someone in person one day who has gone through every single one of my posts. My every thought, aspiration, emotion and complaint. It is like this person already knows you without having to know you, if you know what I mean.
Anyway my supervisor has tasked me to bring our Facebook community to new heights in the year 2011. So I have been diligently reading up this book which I bought three months ago – Social Media Marketing by Liana “Li” Evans. I have to say that among the books on social media that I have read, this one really stands out.
She realistically drove home the message that social media is not quick and easy. It is not just about setting up a Facebook account with the organisation’s brand name and expect people to come and build a community around it.
On the contrary, marketers have to search out where their audience are having their conversations and join them. Social media is about conversations and community, just like any actual physical interaction. As marketers, we must remember that our audience is devoting time to discuss something which is important to them or they are passionate about. Throwing marketing messages smack into the community is just being plain rude, if not disrespectful.
Yes, social media success cannot be found overnight but built up through sincerity and founded on great customer service. Perhaps instead of using the word marketing, social media should be more synonymous with customer service.
It will be a tough uphill climb to convince my management that the way to reach the people with our educational message is not through quick and easy promotions and lucky draws but engaging in real and honest conversations with them.
And perhaps Facebook may not really be the best medium to transmit our ideas. Maybe for serious matters related to personal finances and government, it should be confined to platforms like blogs and forums, even though it may not be the hype. Just because we built it, it doesn’t mean they will come.