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Building Thought Leadership: More than just Tweets

Tuesday, December 27, 2011   (1 Comments)
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By William Newman, CMC

One of the compelling game-changers in the new media space has been the advent of social business tools ("socbiz” for short). Over 20 years ago the late Steve Jobs gave us a computer where we could perform desktop publishing. Today we have this giant technological cloud that surrounds us, bringing those that would like to be connected together, across vast distances, instantaneously. The same tools that are fueling social and political change throughout the world are impacting the way we do business in profound yet parallel ways.

At a recent conference, a software client of mine had some down time between exhibits and decided to launch a Twitter account. He had all of the marketing assets at his disposal (and one of the company owners standing next to him giving him the approval to create a voice in the "Twittersphere”). Through announcing their presence at the conference with some clever links, conference attendees picked up the information through their real-time Twitter feeds. My client saw their traffic double over the next two days.

While my client was lucky and insightful –a consistent brand and brand elements, a message worth listening to and specific reason to promote their brand – not every small or even large business has the experience, wherewithal, talent or chutzpah needed to engage in the socbiz space.

Before some of you discard my story, I am not speaking to the occasional Facebook post, photo opportunity, or LinkedIn status announcement. While you can engage in those practices our work with high growth clients suggest those activities by and large will not build a personal or business brand. It may get you a "Top Tweet” or a number of "Likes” but it won’t translate into tangible business. After all, socbiz this isn’t about posting popular photos of your recent vacation or from your class reunion. That’s what social media is for, and that is a dangerous trap for newcomers to the socbiz space often fall into. The two are not the same.

My editors introduced me to these differences almost two years ago. Maintaining a number of channels where different newsworthy opinions, events, and mindshare could be leveraged is a basic difference to traditional and personal use of social media. Think of the culinarian who has a number of tools at their disposal. You wouldn’t use a butter knife to carve roast beef. As Sean Connery says from the movie The Untouchables, "don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”

And so it is with socbiz applications. It’s simply a tool to use for public relations. Nothing more, nothing less.

The key with any traditional public relations instrument – such as a press release – is to have something that is newsworthy, compelling, and accessible to a target audience of readers, listeners and watchers. How those socbiz applications integrate with one another, creating an "echo effect” of messaging, is a factor of design as well as time commitment.

My editors – the same ones that opened the proverbial genie bottle for me in the socbiz space - are also quick to point out that an application like Twitter or Facebook can also represent giant pits of wasted time where content is not being developed when a deadline is looming. Come to think of it, they also ask me to blog and repost many other articles that are related but not of my own writing. Key to it all is the effort to practice solid time management, allowing for a balance of client facing work as well as thought leadership development, in order to move your brand and value proposition forward in the marketplace.

And now I must put the keyboard down and work on client deliverables ….

Certified Management Consultant, author, writer, and professional speaker, William Newman is a former IMC national board member and former President of both the Pacific Northwest and Michigan Chapters. His firm is sponsoring a webinar series that began October 27 entitled "Finding your Voice in the Social Media Space.” For more information please view the event calendar here.


Peter J. McAliney CMC says...
Posted Friday, December 30, 2011
I have found SocBiz to be a two-sided strategy. Developing a curator strategy to follow the "right" individuals and organizations on Twitter, FB, RSS feeds etc. allows one to put his finger on the pulse of what is going on within one's world of interest. I have gained access to breaking industry reports, developed professional relationships, and gotten engagements by being a better/faster acquirer of the most relevant information I need to run my practice. Peter McAliney, Chenery & Company Inc.