It’s All About Interactions

Published November 29, 2008   permalink

When considering social media and marketing applications, a lot of us focus on the content--a YouTube video or a blog post--or an online place where people congregate--like Facebook. That makes sense, too, given the way we behave in the real world: As marketers, we create content and then put it in places with lots of traffic, where it will get seen.

There's another aspect of social media, and more correctly of the Social Web itself, that I believe is much more important. To be sure, content is important: You need to say, do, or show something if you want to participate in a conversation. And true as well, it would be great if others joined with you. "But wait," as we say in marketing, "there's more."

What I'm getting at here are the interactions themselves. The key to effective participation--whether as leader or follower--is knowing what just happened so that you can choose what to participate in. Managing your brand on the Social Web means staying aware of what people are saying, knowing who is saying what, and responding where and when appropriate. Think of your personal social circle and the holiday parties that will occur in the coming weeks. You probably won't make all of them, and you definitely won't be talking about the same thing at all of them. You'll choose, filter, and offer your thoughts in the context of the specific audience and event itself. JD Lasica posts about social media, marketing, and businesses and makes this very point in an excerpt from John Battelle on the importance of understanding the nuances in social settings versus the relatively broad standards of "targeted media."

Social media works the same way: using Twitter, the *status updates* on Facebook and similar tools and then linking your comments and those of people you are interested through tools like,, and Friendfeed you can efficiently track and effectively participate within a very large social network. Check out this spot-on video clip from Jun Loayza, CMO and co-founder of Future Delivery. Jun literally shows you how to connect Facebook and Twitter via Ping, a technique that you can extend to all of your social interactions and thereby greatly increase your scope and ability to participate while staying relevant. Let's face it--anyone can blast a message: What's important now is placing just the right message into an appropriate context.

What's the best way to do that? Tap the collective intelligence! Use the tools that distribute knowledge of what you've just done to your social contacts: Then, let them filter it and re-distribute it to exactly where it needs to go. In "Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day" Chapter 12 goes in-depth on this concept. Take a look, and put this to use in building and maintaining your business-minded social presence.

Reader's Comments

I absolutely agree - the right message in the appropriate context is the key to social media marketing success. I have been getting followed by increasingly odd people on Twitter (see more on this at and it feels like a classic situation of what NOT to do when trying to build a social media program. By the way, I bought your book after hearing you interviewed by Susan Bratton and it’s been very useful. Good luck with it.

By Ray Welling