Wednesday, August 1, 2007

How to use social networks

Man, I've been a blogging fool this week! I normally don't get this many posts in during one week.

Anyway, it's always nice to have someone validate thoughts you thought were just your own. I had this experience after reading a post on PR Communications. The author made a number of interesting points about how to best utilize social networks in building an effective social media community. While I agree with all his points, the following stood out most to me:

"No more marketing promotion - the biggest turn off in this type of community is a marketing shill. Trust comes from credibility and authenticity. Let your own people, and your developers criticize your efforts, if the criticism is correct, agree with them and move on, if wrong argue your case reasonably, remember everyone's goal is to produce the best software, if not all you are trying to do is sell something."

I recently had a similar experience creating some dialogue for GM on Facebook. Most of those who participated in the discussion were passionate, but respectful. When they criticized the company I would readily admit where we were wrong or correct anything erroneous. It turned out to be a very positive experience and a great conversation.

It's for this reason that I believe that social media should be a PR function only. Marketing, in my opinion, has no place in social networks. We build the relationships, then marketing can take it from there.

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