What is Social Media? It’s more than just Twitter and Facebook.

Editor’s note: This was originally written as a blog post for the MCDM blog at the University of Washington.

Being a Social Media Strategist at Microsoft, by way of Projectline, involves much more than just tweeting and maintaining a Facebook page. It’s about building community. Our product, one in the educational sector, requires a lot of online networking. I work hard to establish and build trust with educators around the world. Microsoft is a behemoth of a company and while you think the MSFT name alone would give you a shoe-in to any community – it simply doesn’t.

Teachers want to know that you are just as passionate about education as you are about the product you are marketing. To show them this, when I tweet out something, I usually always sign my name at the end to help give it that personal touch. Many Social Strategists and Community Managers sign only with their initials in this fashion:  ^EB. I go the extra mile and sign: -eric. On Facebook, I will send them personal emails and comments with my own profile (Eric Burgess) as well with my Mouse Mischief profile. It’s absolutely crucial in this day and age to be as reachable as you can to your customers. The old way of conducting customer service by way of 800 numbers and expensive CMS email software is on its way out. People want immediate access to you – so why not give it to them. It’s all a part of the community building I mentioned earlier. How can you build a community without making you and your product as transparent as possible? You can’t. Below are some important things to consider as you work to build up your community.

1. Are you Tony Hsieh’ing it?


Tony Hsieh is the founder and CEO of Zappos.com. Hsieh inspired me to get into social media. He was one of the first people I was following on Twitter and as I read his tweets I was completely blown away by the amount of time he spent on Twitter. He was so passionate about his customers that, from my standpoint, I consider him a pioneer in social media. He used it to grow his business. And, he was reachable to everyone. I actually received a message from him when I responded to one of his tweets. What CEO does that? How could an online shoe business have nearly 1.7 million followers? Zappos. Because Hsieh worked hard at growing his community. You’ve got to Hsieh it to stay in it.

2. Maintain a Blog
Blogs are so 2000! Not. They provide huge SEO opportunities which will ultimately lead to helping you save money in paid search while giving you a leg up in organic search. Let’s face it, your company’s website can’t be changed on the fly. You may have to jump through several hoops, including working with a developer, just to make a minor change to something. Not with a blog. A blog provides you the opportunity to quickly get a message out via a simple blog post. Want to poll your customer base on something? Blog it. Blogging is community building. Make sure your marketing department and/or higher ups understand this. Additional note: carefully consider the title of each blog post to further help you with organic search. I do on this blog.  =)


Hsieh talks about his new book in this video.

3. Listen to the Conversation
There are a lot of  great tools out there to help you find out where the conversations about your industry or product are happening. I personally use Radian6. With Radian6 you can essentially search for comments, tweets, blog posts, news blurbs etc. on any topic for your specific campaign. It’s an amazing social media monitoring tool. The only caveat is that it cannot search for things that happen within closed networks. Other helpful tools I use are SocialMention, Twazzup, Klout and far too many others to include in this post. Search Mashable.com for more on listening tools.



4. Join the Conversation
You already know about and use Facebook and Twitter.  But are you using them in a one-sided way? What I mean is, do you just post and tweet about your product or service in a self-centered way? What about trying to start an actual conversation on your Facebook page by asking a question? I recently asked all the teachers that like our page how they spend their summer? It’s fun and engaging and this sort of thing will keep them coming back to our page for more. On Twitter, try joining a real-time discussion with a hashtag (#). Each Tuesday for one hour I join the #edchat conversation. From 4-5pm all of my tweets end with #edchat and I can talk with other teachers around the world by watching the #edchat thread update as we tweet.

5. Be Transparent
Being transparent can be hard for some companies. They cower behind their brand’s established persona. It’s a persona that they want to protect and prevent anyone from bad-mouthing. It’s 2010 though and people have opinions about your brand. Why not listen? A big part of being transparent is letting the conversation happen on your own network. A great example of this is the recent online sparring between Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines. At the height of the discussion, many people left comments on Southwest’s Facebook page saying things like: “I can’t believe you don’t like fat people,” and “You guys suck, I’m never flying with you again.” The truth of it is, the people behind Southwest’s marketing/pr/social media teams were very smart for not screening these types of comments. By letting people vent, it actually helped put out the fire.

6. Have Fun
You won’t be successful in building a community if you’re not having fun. We’ve come full circle with this last tenet by saying that Tony Hsieh had a lot of fun doing what he did to build up the Zappos community. It was a huge part of their culture and it showed in his blog posts and tweets. He was clearly having fun doing it. Are you tweeting about things that only have to do with your product or service? Try throwing in some random, fun tweets here and there. It won’t hurt. Maybe take a picture of yourself in your office and tweet the pic with some creative, witty caption.


3,124 Comments on "What is Social Media? It’s more than just Twitter and Facebook."

  1. It is SO much more than the big two. Great advice for organizations wanting to participate in the social media conversation. Thank you for the shout out!

    Lauren Vargas
    Sr. Community Manager at Radian6
    @VargasL

  2. Vita Minarik says:

    Good post, thanks for adding it. It was great to read on this rainy day!

  3. I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours What is Social Media? It’s more than just Twitter and Facebook. | Fashion Dad. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  4. PORN MOVIES says:

    Important thing know about Sex Pills For Men.The best penis enlargement pills must contain powerful natural ingredients maintaining proper ratio of elements. Several clinical tests concluded that the penile tissue of penis increases in capacity, expands working area and functions accurately if natural ingredients are applied to the patient. These pills supply the proper ingredients to body and enlarge penis effectively.Naturamax Pills are a natural penis enlargement and male enhancement pills. It is made up of several natural and herbal ingredients which have been proven to aid in sexual health. More than 10000 people have used already and there is great feedback.By the way, penis enhancement pills actually do help to speed up the enlargement process when you take it in conjunction with enlargement exercises of traction device. This is because the ingredients in pills will help your penis recover faster after stretching your penis by exercise or traction device.

  5. Ezequiel says:

    Hello to all, how is everything, I think every one is
    getting more from this site, and your views are good
    in favor of new people.

  6. a3210352 says:

    I’ve said that least 3210352 times. SCK was here

  7. Your web site should definitely property around the first page associated with serp’s the information. Why are you not really? My spouse and i remarked that many people have the in an identical way, might be able to do something about it?

  8. i have noted your article in my mind,good job

  9. I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours What is Social Media? It’s more than just Twitter and Facebook. | Fashion Dad. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  10. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about What is Social Media? It’s more than just Twitter and Facebook. | Fashion Dad .

  11. For every wise man there is one still wiser.

  12. Bravo Ben says:

    Look at the symbolism on the back of the dollar bill

  13. kasyna says:

    An exceptionally well-chosen design for your post, decent typeface, demanding on the little brown eyes. Comparable benefits! Very well, this style of producing, a little something gorgeous! Hopefully could be considered below sometimes!

  14. I delight in, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  15. Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Many thanks!

  16. cool prices payday loans uk http://cashchatter.com poster

  17. Pharmb615 says:

    Hello! kckfkgg interesting kckfkgg site! I’m really like it! Very, very kckfkgg good!

Trackbacks for this post

  1. 10 x 8" frame
  2. stephen e karsch
  3. stephen karsch
  4. foot pain denver
  5. foot pain denver
  6. how to make money
  7. onebuckresume