Ever watch a baseball game and see a pitch that looks like a meatball, straight down the middle and it is called a ball? The home plate umpire gets booed, the batter complains but the umpire puts his hands up and the game continues. The announcers throw in their $.02 and say that the strike zone seems to be all over the place. The strike zone is clearly defined with the top being a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the batter’s shoulders and the top of their uniform pants and the bottom being a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. Let’s not forget the right and left boundaries, which follow the edges of home plate. The umpires are trained and retrained so that they have a clear understanding of the pitches and how they are thrown, look coming in, etc. But as we know, each pitch is open to interpretation of what the umpire saw. So, what does this have to do with advertising or social media? Well, look at your strategy and is it as clearly defined as a strike zone? Are your efforts open to interpretation by the community or do they have a straight shot as to who you are, what you do and what value you bring to the community?
Interaction & Communication
Social media is about interacting and communicating. It is not an extension of a print ad with a big starburst to draw attention. The interaction and communication is done on the platforms that each are as different as every pitch. Think of each pitch as a social media platform. Whether it be one of the big three; Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook or forums like American Express Open Forum or Third Tribe, each afford an opportunity to network but the communities are different and react differently.
On Facebook people expose so much in comments unlike any platform. There seems to be more of a laid back personal/casual atmosphere that people are much more open and willing to tell things that we would not elsewhere. Now, this could be that we have 240 characters as opposed to 140 or that are interacting with old friends, new friends or family but Facebook communication is like no other platform. I know that I am but I use my FB for personal so that I can communicate with friends and family back east. With that in mind and the changes in privacy with the like and link, businesses are able to find out information about people like never before.
LinkedIn is the business networking leave the weekend hangover stories at the door platform. The platform which is the oldest at 7, has built a reputation on being the platform for job seekers, people who wish to increase or build their personal and business brand. Over the past year LinkedIn has made incredible changes to promote communication with connections but some of late have made me think that they are losing focus on what the community wants and expects. With any platform, it is your profile and quite frankly you can use it any way you want and if you want to talk about what you ate or where you ate lunch (minus who was with you to devoid your connections to be able to ask for an intro) or your weekend toilet hugging events but take a few days and see how the audience responds. Then take a few minutes to read (comments included) to see how you can use LinkedIn effectively. But first see how to create a powerful and engaging profile.
Let loose my friends. Tell me what you had for lunch, where you ate lunch, where you get your coffee, where you drove that day, who you talked on the phone, please in 140 characters tell me everything and anything that you want me to know. Share articles of A-listers, B-listers down to Z-listers. Interact and talk as this is the platform for it.
In the ensuing days, I will delve further into quite a few of the platforms, how to use them and how I use them to network and generate leads/new business.
As you take this all in, take some time to master your pitches and keep practicing. Learn your fastball, curve ball, slider, etc. and give the community a chance to get to know you. Sure, your strategy may sometimes fall out of the strike zone or may fall into the dirt but remember it takes time to be accepted. Stop stretching and give them a reason to wanted to be connected to you.
photo credit: RenaeCotero