Yesterday I attended the first Social Media World & e-Business World Congress in Greece. I went there mostly out of curiosity as I was interested in understanding how the so-called “social media experts” think.
The good news is that the organisation of the congress was outstanding for the Greek standards as the organisers had done their best to run everything smoothly. There were some speakers who really impressed me, as whatever their age, they seemed to have understood that Social Media is a completely new field (especially for the Greek market) and thus refused the title of experts, making it crystal clear that only time will show who deserves the title and who doesn’t if there are ever going to be any experts in Social Media.
The bad news is, however, that many of the speakers have already started giving titles to themselves in an attempt to look and sound like Social Media Gurus mostly talking about ways to control, categorise and manipulate the wills of potential customers. What really struck me as a surprise was that people already working or even managing big advertising companies were talking about the power of Social Media when they have twitter accounts that may have thousands of followers – obviously because they are who they are – and have only made a dozen of tweets. How on earth can they keep repeating that engagement is important when they don’t apply an engagement? How on earth can a supposedly Social Media Guru be making a speech on the values of Social Media wearing an oldfashioned 80’s tie?
To my mind the core of Social Media is “there are NO rules!” It was funny hearing one of the speakers saying that to be a Social Media expert you need to be exceptional on writing and oral speaking when that particular speaker whenever you comment on his posts takes what you have said and twists it so much you get the feeling a politician (and that’s not a compliment) has answered!
Another speaker was explaining everyone that the ‘likes’ are not our goal but engagement….honestly talking I believe the ‘likes’ are the first goal and the second is an engagement. How can you get engagement if there are no likes at first? It’s like going out with your friends when you don’t have any friends! The lady even said that without engagement you risk being unliked by your ‘fans’. Wrong Lady! I am the kind of person who every now and then goes back to her liking list and unlikes pages that I only liked to participate in a competition but the reality is that only a few do what I do. Most users do NOT unlike pages like I do. Most users unlike pages when there are too many posts by them (=spam) or when what the page posts does not interest them anymore. A successful page is not one that has loyal followers, it is one that stays loyal to its followers! You need to be your followers’ friend who they talk about when they are not online. The one they always talk about to the others even when they are offline and most importantly share their content on their timeline. Loyal followers bring you more followers and so on.
The internet is a huge open place which means that people have the power now to find exactly what they want. The way I see it, it’s as if some years ago we, the customers, were confined to doing our shopping in a small village High Street and had the choice of reading a couple of newspapers edited by two or three people and we are now exposed to innumerable sources of information and an unimaginable range of products we can buy with just one click. The customers can no longer be controlled or put in categories. The last Greek elections showed exactly that. The people who have access to the internet voted in a totally different way from the ones who don’t. They don’t give a damn about what the politicians or the big journalists try to impose on them because through the internet and Social Media they can find the truth and make decisions.
What needs to be also understood is that the administrators of any page or material of your company on Social Medias are just as important as the founders of your company. The director, managers or president of the company may be the ones who started it all but the administrator of your page is the one who is going to bring your company to the new era. First of all he/she must be someone who loves the product he is promoting as much as you do . Actually they need to be its number one fan! Give them your products as a reward to use in their real life. How do you expect an i-phone holder to be administrating a Nokia page? Would you ever imagine Steve Jobs going around in any other phone than one made by Apple? Secondly, pay them! Make them do the job because they love it not because they need to make a living. And last but not least always pick up the phone when they call. They should have many questions to ask you about the company and you should always be there to answer them.
Social Media is a new game that needs to be played in unconventional ways. Every day, hour, minute the non-rules are changing. Get that or becoming obsolete is a matter or time!