It’s been two months since we’ve all gathered together for our morning conversations about social media and how best to use it in your business and in your life. Quite frankly, we’ve missed everyone.
Rain slowed us down a bit this morning, but we were grateful to have a few moments to talk about what’s been on our mind since June’s breakfast.
The theme on everyone’s mind seems to have been “change.” It’s inevitable that the social networks and media we use on a daily basis are going to change. They’re businesses, and they’re all competing against one another. It can be hard to keep up. As one breakfast attendee phrased it, “what’s right today isn’t what’s going to be right tomorrow.”
More than that, we decided that the fact of the matter is that there’s no solid definition of what is and isn’t ’social.’ There hasn’t been a solid definition of social media for a while, but we know it when we see it. The definitions we’re realizing after this morning’s conversation, however, have less to do with the underlying technology of a particular website, and instead, have far more to do with the behaviors and the philosophies of its users. The video length guide is available between the stories of different accounts. The duration of the video is low for increasing the attention of the audience. The information about the latest trends and new business products are provided to the active people. The use of popular hashtags can be done.
“Social,” we’ve come to understand – though we may not have put it into words before – is fundamentally a philosophy of maintaining credibility and respect for whomever you serve, through openness, transparency and participation.
A business, therefore, can have a presence on Twitter or Facebook, but if all it does is post links to its website or talks about itself, it is merely using online media, not social media.
One of the best things about the Social Media Expedition, however, has always been that we don’t traffic in what’s right or wrong in social media, but in what works, based on sharing our experiences.
And that’s exactly what Kate Lollar Hancock, our speaker for the morning, did. Hancock, a native Memphian, is an account executive at Triple Point, the industry leader in public relations, marketing, business development, and product consulting within the games and digital media market.
Hancock proceeded to deliver, based on her experience, a thorough description of just how the online video gaming industry is using social media to promote games, provide customer service, and even add functionality to their games.
She began by making the strong point that online games and social media were meant for each other. Whereas social media helps bring gaming into the mainstream, online games and gamers have always been at the forefront of the social movement.
She also made the point that the two worlds are blending together – games started as social activities. Think about Scrabble, Pictionary, or even marbles. Most games have always been meant to bring people together. It makes sense that as video games mature from single-player things, that they evolve into things like massively-multiplayer online games (MMOGs) such as World of Warcraft.
Even those MMOGs are not stationary. According to Hancock, they’re incorporating features such as the Twitter application TwitterCraft, built to allow in-game tweeting.
Meanwhile, games on Facebook move the other way. Hancock used the example of playing a game of online Scrabble with her mother – it’s a sense of connectedness and closeness that you just don’t get from email or Facebook messages.
But what are the lessons to be learned from her experiences? Hancock recommended trying anything you think might work. There is very little productive in worrying about whether you’re using your social presence in the right or wrong way, so long as you’re paying attention to your audience.
Make a point to experiment with new techniques – acting like an early adopter, Hancock said, will help you be bold, creative and new. The important thing for your audience is that you engage them in a meaningful – and thereby fun – way.
The implication is that succeeding in showing care for your audience will help you not just build and retain a fanbase, but help differentiate your brand. How does this happen? According to Hancock, “People want to talk about your company. So let them.”
After an informative and encouraging talk, we broke into small groups for core conversations. The voted topics were Blogging, Facebook for business, and Social Media 101. It’s encouraging to see the Social Media 101 group get smaller every month, as everyone gets more comfortable with their footing in the social realm. We like to see people begin to explore, to their fullest, the possibilities inherent in social media.
Stay in touch – we’ve got a busy, busy fall coming up, and we’d certainly like to see you around for all of it. The next SocialCamp will be September 19th, followed by RealCamp (literally, camping) October 17, and BarCamp November 14.
We’ll keep you posted, and we’d like to encourage you to join us on August 20 for TwilightCamp, our monthly evening mixer.