Monday, October 20, 2008
Attention companies: Pick your social media influencers carefully
Over the last year or so, I have seen a big spike in the interest companies have in learning more about social media, and especially blogging. This is a good thing for obvious reasons, but I am a bit worried that many companies are patterning their efforts after the wrong people.
Many companies, when they begin doing some internal research into blogging, try to quickly identify the 'experts'. The people that have built their blogs up to massive traffic and exposure levels, with the thinking being that if it worked for them, it will for any company. The problem is, as many prominent bloggers become 'cewebrities', they shift their usage of SM a bit, and start using these tools as a way to promote themselves. Or as I say, they start 'broadcasting'. They rarely reply to blog comments anymore. They have thousands of followers on Twitter, while only following back a fraction of that amount. While these 'experts' can show you how they built their level of influence, they don't use social media tools in the way that your customers are likely to.
So if you are wanting to follow social media influencers that use these amazing tools as a way to interact with others and as a way to build community, I suggest you begin paying attention to the following people. I've included their blog and Twitter profile link. These are ten people that I am learning from, and they can teach you much as well.
Connie Bensen (Blog - Twitter): Truly community-minded, Connie uses both her blog and Twitter as ways to share and build knowledge for others.
Richard Binhammer (Blog - Twitter): Dell's social media efforts are legendary, and Richard is a big reason why the company has such a good reputation in this area. If you are wanting to see how your employees could connect with their customers via social media (and especially via Twitter), then pay close attention to what Richard is doing.
Jason Falls (Blog - Twitter): Jason has for the last year or more, developed a strong reputation in the social media area, by not only using social media as a way to connect with others, but adding in an offline element and constantly connecting with people in real life at conferences and events.
Beth Harte (Blog - Twitter): Beth might think that she doesn't belong on this list, and that's exactly why she does. Beth has come out of nowhere the past few months to quickly establish herself in the social media space, and has already locked up several speaking gigs at local and national events. For anyone that thinks that 'it's too late for me to start blogging', Beth proves that it's never too late.
Tim Jackson (Blog - Twitter): The BEST example of a small company/brand using social media that I have ever seen. Period. I'll refer to a post I did recently about the amazing results that Tim has achieved for the Masi brand via social media, but if you are a small biz/brand that wonders if blogging and social media can really make a difference, then start following what Tim is doing, because the results he has achieved, with almost no help and no money, are staggering.
CK (Blog - Twitter): My favorite saying about social media is 'don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate'. No one understands this better than CK. CK is tirelessly meeting and connecting with the people she meets online, and was one of the driving forces behind Blogger Social, which is still hands-down the best blogging 'event' that I have attended. CK knows that social media is about sharing.
Jennifer Laycock (Blog - Twitter): What I love about Jennifer (as does everyone else), is that she has such a wonderful knack of taking seemingly foreign and complex ideas (like social media) and breaking them down into simple terms that people that are new to this space can relate to. She really looks at these tools through the eyes of the 'newbie', and her posts at Search Engine Guide are wonderful tutorials on how you can get started off on the right foot with social media.
Amber Naslund (Blog - Twitter): Like Beth Harte, Amber has come out of seemingly nowhere to make her mark on the social media space. Besides quickly growing her blog and SM presence, she has also quickly established herself as a top-notch social media consultant, quickly landing multiple clients, including Radian6.
Connie Reece (Blog - Twitter): Connie is a true social media maven, and one of the earliest people to create a vibrant network for themselves on Twitter. Yet the more her network and level of influence grows, the more Connie shares of herself and her time, which is exactly why you should be paying attention to her.
Mario Sundar (Blog - Twitter): Mario is another example of a person that's working in the corporate world, but effectively using social media to connect with customers. Mario is constantly leveraging the natural ability of SM as a connecting tool, to solicit and act on feedback from LinkedIn's members.
This list is made up of people that are not only emerging leaders and influencers in this space, but they also are happy to share their expertise with you. But keep in mind that while this list is a great starting point, the REAL influencers that you should be seeking out, are your customers. Find and embrace your online customers and evangelists.
And if you manage or are involved with social media efforts at your company, who are your influencers?
Pic via Flickr user backpackphotography