Archives for posts with tag: twitter

Thinking about social media in terms of apps and virality goes against what’s best about this technology. The beauty of platforms like Facebook is that brands and people can have a social exchange, not just a business exchange.

But this only happens when you have humans assigned to monitor the web and respond on behalf of your brand. It doesn’t happen through Facebook apps, Twitter contests or YouTube videos. Those things might supplement a campaign, but they are not a social media strategy and they are not a substitute for quality community management.

What Is Community Management?

Community managers maintain a brand’s presence online, sharing content and responding to feedback. This usually includes making posts to the company Facebook page and replying to tweets, but should not leave out monitoring and commenting on blogs, YouTube and other places where your brand is mentioned.

Community managers simultaneously serve the people and the brand, understanding the two aren’t at odds and finding ways to provide value to both.

Why Is Community Management Important?

Community managers allow companies and individuals to relate in a very human way, a connection that is not possible through mass marketing. Think about the love and loyalty people feel toward certain restaurants, salons or cruise lines. People feel stronger about these services than they do about products because of the human difference.

Apple brilliantly created Apple Stores with ‘Geniuses’ to help you find new products and fix your old ones. Forget the “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” ads; this gives you the clearest idea what type of person Apple is and creates a deeper connection to the brand than someone would get buying a laptop from a general electronics store. A person might have a great experience buying a Dell at Best Buy and return when they need a new computer, but their loyalty is then likely stronger to the store than to Dell.

The point is human interaction does the most to affect how we feel about companies. Social media platforms give all brands the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with people and turn any product into a service. For instance, Kotex uses its Facebook page to answer questions about women’s health.

For now, good community management is something that will set a company apart. Think of the attention Southwest has gotten for their diligence on Twitter. Most people are still surprised and delighted when a company responds to them via social media, but soon it will be an expectation.

All the apps and contests and Facebook ads can’t replace the benefits of human interaction. Companies need to invest in community management.

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My friend Michael Marantz and I collaborated cross-country Thursday night to create this video about how and why Egypt forced its people offline. Now, more than 70,000 people have watched it on YouTube and Vimeo.

When news broke that Egypt had shut down all Internet access, we decided the best thing we could do was help educate people about the situation and encourage them to spread awareness. We wanted to take advantage of the access to information and communications that Egypt was stripped of but we still had.

Since I live in LA and Michael lives in New York, we used Google Docs and Skype to collaborate on the piece. We gathered our information exclusively from online sources, checking Twitter for updates through the night. After the video was uploaded to YouTube at 6 a.m., L.A. time, we shared it with our networks and submitted it to Reddit. Since then we’ve watched it spread across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs and other social media.

The whole exercise has proven the power of the Internet, especially in the age of social media. Without it, the video could not have been made, let alone had the impact is has so far. Thank you to everyone who watched and shared it. The Internet is a great tool, but one that ultimately has power because of individuals.

I wish I had a Facebook fan for every person who told me they didn’t understand Twitter.

Twitter has gotten a lot of attention because of its early adopters: food trucks, celebrities, polical activists and other news-makers. Now brands are all over the service.

The only people who don’t use Twitter are people I know.

The few friends of mine who use it regularly are people I know from journalism school (more on this later). No one else seems to see the point. ‘What?’ you say. The first users of Facebook aren’t hip to the new social network?

No — because Twitter isn’t a social network.

Sure, you can use it to connect with friends, but it’s a pretty awful platform for it. (Conversations aren’t threaded; profile info is limited to your name, location and 140 characters; direct messages notoriously become public, etc.)

In reality, Twitter is a microblogging platform.

This, of course, only makes sense if you understand blogging. Blogs are for people passionate about a particular subject — food, parenting, tech, politics, advertising, celebrity gossip, knitting, you name it. The popular misconception about blogs is that they are online accounts of one’s life. This is a problem on Twitter as well.

It is usually more rewarding to read a stranger’s blog about a topic you care about than to read a personal blog written by someone you know, unless your friend is a brilliant or hilarious writer. Same with Twitter.

Unfortunately, most people I know would describe Twitter as ‘like your Facebook status but it has to be 140 characters.’ Hard to see the appeal in that. My friends from journalism school, however, seem to understand Twitter as the microblogging service it is, and they are drawn to it because they are avid consumers and sharers of information.

In short, I don’t see Twitter ever reaching a billion users like its founder thinks it will. Twitter is currently an important part of what I do as a social media coordinator and community manager for brands, but it is much harder to find value in and and is much more easily replaced than Facebook.

And I’m not just saying that because I love Mark Zuckerberg.