Back in September 2010, Crowd Founder Jo Porritt was interviewed by Giedrius Ivanauskas, founder of Social Media Citizens, an open platform where users can share their views about the changing media environment and its effects on consumer behaviour, communications and marketing. Her words still ring true a year on…
G: How and why did you get into social media business?
J: How? I was previously an Account Director with a web development company, managing brands online presence. The shift a few years ago to Web 2.0 and the whole concept of “Read, Write, Share” meant is was impossible to ignore! Why? Because way before social media was coined as a buzz-word, I worked on the same principles that underpin social i.e. open, transparent, collaborative, high integrity, no smoke and mirrors. I yearned for the time when businesses could see how much value there was in “participation” and not just “broadcast”. Essentially, those ethics are in my blood – it was a very natural progression from my personal life to my working life. I guess with the advent of social and my experience to date, I finally feel like things are now aligned.
G: What is it like to be a real Social Media Citizen?
J: Being a Social Media Citizen is basically easy for me! As described above, it has been how I have worked with clients and brands for many years. But now that this has become “mainstream” I plan my day by making sure I start it with a quick review of the news across all of the SM sites. I also plan ahead for both clients and my own social media personal branding projects. I try to weave a thread of consistency by posting on certain topics, interspersed with the organic, real time nature social now gives us. In truth, every day is different. I am constantly learning. For me, everything we do as professionals within this industry is always in beta. Being flexible and learning when to stop are also very important strategies.
G: What are your favourite social media hang out sites?
J: I spend most of the time on Twitter for listening and responding and knowledge sharing. It has been without a doubt the most valuable tool for me in respect of learning and collaborating with peers I just would not have met in the real world. Facebook is a close second, for keeping up with those connections that are normally around in my real world day to day life. I also love the way Facebook embraces the multi-media approach as I’m an advocate of communicating in pictures, video and other means.
G: How are you keeping up-to-date with social media environment ?
J: I don’t think we could realistically manage listening to and participating in such a high number of social networks without the fantastic array of apps and web based tools to support this. For me, it is a mixture of Hootsuite and Tweetdeck for monitoring my Twitter Accounts, alerting me when I’m otherwise busy to things that happen in real time that need a response. My favourite blogs/websites I subscribe to by RSS or email so they get delivered to my inbox. A daily scan of these allows me to catch-up with what is going on, and also helps me source content for my clients and my own social participation. Google Alerts, Social Mention and other listening tools, including having trials of paid apps (Radian6) all allow me be listening when my ears may already be elsewhere.
G: What are your favourite Social Media Citizens?
J: Apart from Social Media Citizens, you mean? I guess I follow a variety of social stars, and always because I value or respect what they bring to the social table. To name a few by Twitter handle:
@conversation – Quite simply because J-P De Clerck is one of the best community managers I have come across. Both in respect of his level of engagement, and his almost encyclopaedic knowledge around the subject of humanising the brand.
@MindJumpers – Always fresh, always consistent with their news and updates. If you want to know about the latest SM trends, and to see some great social projects in action, these are the guys to watch.
@socialvation – Because Jon Holloway understands – as I do – that social is nothing new. Hurricane Marketing help underdogs challenge the big brand movers & shakers and know how to create compelling, buzz-worthy content. Full stop.I think it is also important to say here that I follow a broad mix of peers, because I am always looking to collaborate and engage with those who I resonate with, personally and professionally.
G: What are your favourite Marketing/PR tools on social media?
J: I have mentioned some above, but I guess my toolbox of favourites would be:
- Google Alerts
- Social Mention
- Hubspot’s Twitter & Web Grader
G: What are your Top 3 secrets of social media marketing?
J: I will answer this from a personal perspective i.e. What I think are the three things that have helped me to be successful:
- Listen, listen and listen again. I would apply this to personal and brand exposure on social. Such a crucial point that is still too often overlooked. I personally spent about 4 months just listening on Twitter when I started my account. I watched and learnt, I observed who the influencers were, I watched how etiquette is important. Only then, did I start to engage, because I had a sound overview of the platform and the way it worked. It is the same for any social network – don’t just talk, definitely don’t shout and always make it about adding value; whether that is knowledge sharing or personal commentary.
- Be humble. Whether you are an individual operating as I do, or representing a brand. The quickest turn-off on social is arrogance, direct sales techniques and as above says, constantly shouting to be heard. Learn when to talk and not to talk. Just because you CAN jump in and add your 5 cents worth, doesn’t mean you SHOULD!
- Obvious, but again, still missing in social – KEEP IT REAL! Social arenas only provide real world value when you or your brand are genuine, honest and transparent. You will very quickly fail if you can’t hold your truth and want your ego massaged.
G: How did social media change your life?
J: Social media has opened up the world to me in respect of meeting and collaborating, and now working with peers and others I would never have met through the traditional offline networking model. I have made real friends and connections that have added much value to my life both personally and professionally. Being part of a much wider connected community is brilliant, and I think humanity is longing for deeper connection. I love the opportunity that has given me, and look forward to watching this flourish and grow in the future.
G: What don’t you like about social media?
J: I don’t like the “pretenders” or egotistical people/brands that are using social to further themselves for very selfish, personal gain. For me, this has to be about knowledge sharing, support and collaboration. There are plenty of “givers” I have met through social channels – but as in the real world, there are as many “takers” who only have their own interests at heart. Those also peddling to be experts or gurus who do plenty of talking – but not enough walking – will also have to stand up and be counted or fade away. It’s time to sort the wheat from the chaff.
G: What is the funniest/most unexpected thing that happened due to social media?
J: Well, I guess I can say I have had two of those examples there! I have found an old friend, which was truly a delight – and I have indeed had a great job offer and I have been asked to collaborate on projects that are rooted in causes I never expected I would find myself a part of. In short, there is never a dull day, and that is the beauty of this industry – everything is moving, changing, evolving….the possibilities for us as consumers and also for brands are quite literally, endless.
G: What do you see in the future for the social media?
J: Further evolvement of measurement tools for one. Once the message gets through that ROI really does exist in the medium of engagement and reach, social as a marketing tool will really be taken seriously (this can’t come soon enough in my humble opinion). I think the existing platforms that we know will continue to evolve and change as the user-bases demand in respect of functionality, usability and accessibility. Certainly, current emerging trends through geo-location marketing and the use of mobile applications will again evolve and become the “norm” for some brands. Overall I am hoping that marketers and brands will get to a point when they understand that social is not a separate part of their communications strategies. Technology affords us a chance to connect more than ever before, and this will only continue to develop. Humanisation of all marketing activity is clearly where it’s at. Digital now simply IS social; the two are no longer operating as silo’s.
Big thanks for Jo for her great insights!! You can find the rest of the interviews with the Social Media Citizens at Social Media interviews category.