Conversation Marketing: The Conversation is the Thing

Christine Fife

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Social Media: A Means to Meet Goals

I was just looking at a blog post by Mirna Bard: 15 Categories of Social Media. It’s an older blog post, but Mirna re-tweeted the link today and I happened to catch it. I’ve been following Mirna on Twitter for some time now. Her post opens with:

The most popular social media question is: “Where do I start with social media if I want to use it for my business?”

The post goes on to show an image illustrating 15 categories into which you could logically sort types of social media into. I think her categories are great and can really help people understand the social media landscape. However, after a very lively #sm72 tweetup today on The Lifespan of a Social Community, my belief that Mirna’s opening statement is a false assumption holds. Or, if businesses are asking that question (to Mirna or others) they should be educated to understand what social media can and can’t do in relation to their business goals.

Social media isn’t a magic box. Just like any other marketing communications or business tool or process, social media, before even looking into which type of social media you might be interested in, is an option available to a business to achieve goals and objectives. Businesses should never ask a consultant “where do I start if I WANT to use social media?” They should be talking to their consultants or internal departments about the goals they need to reach and inquiring whether types of social media can help them achieve those goals.

All businesses need to find the optimal mix of Listening, Speaking, Caring, Sharing and Building Relationships so they can connect, participate and engage with their customers, prospects, investors, employees and other business stakeholders. Chances are, there is a lot of room for social media in there, but just because social media is available, doesn’t mean every company should do it. Social media isn’t free–it may not cost anything to put up a blog or set up a Twitter or Facebook account, but planning and execution take time and resources, especially if you want to do it right AND get people to come.

Social media is incredible and many companies are missing out by not utilizing it, but be sure you know what you’re using it for and why.

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As I drove off to college I never would have guessed I would end up here! But it’s been a fantastic journey. My career has been richly diverse giving me an advantage over marketers who are siloed into niche positions. I strive to be a true Renaissance person—I love to learn about everything and trying new things comes naturally. My career has been no different; I’ve successfully launched enterprise software and medical device development startups, improved communications processes for the regulatory department of a major financial exchange, increased client business and product development for several international exchange program companies and founded an international educational non-profit organization. My master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from Golden Gate University gave me a broad understanding of traditional marketing best-practices, but my BA in theater gave me the skills to understand how people communicate with one another and the importance of promoting a brand in a voice that is right for the audience.