By Nettie Reynolds
A Guide to Social Media One Tweet at a Time
For this edition of Cincom Expert Access we caught up with author Toby Bloomberg.
Toby will talk about her extraordinary e-book, “Social Media Marketing GPS”. The ebook now has thousands of downloads and fans. The book is truly an actionable how-to for marketers who must understand social media in order to do their jobs.
(My own confession is that Toby is one of my dear friends from the world of blogging and after having known her for almost 7 years online – we finally met in person last month in Texas. She’s just as wonderful in person as she is online!)
Nettie: Tell us about the ebook and what it will empower people to understand about marketing
Toby: Social Media Marketing GPS is the first business book that is based on interviews conducted on Twitter.
The book is structured into twelve chapters that begin with helping marketers understand why social media is critical. Other chapters discuss ethics, research, metrics, seven popular tactics, branding and blogger relations. The Twitter interviews, with forty highly respected marketers, form the heart of each chapter.
In addition, each chapter includes a wrap up, key points and Continue The Conversation questions. The questions, along with the information from the interviews, will help the reader understand how to develop a plan. What that book turns out to be is a thought process model for developing a social media marketing strategy.
Nettie: You’ve been online a very long time Toby, can you talk about how you first started blogging and how you view social media?
Toby: In the world of social media I suppose my blog, Diva Marketing might be considered a senior citizen or at least middle age! This month is Diva’s sixth blog anniversary.
I launched Diva Marketing as an experiment. At the time, I was conducting workshops for SCORE. I thought it was important for small business owners to have an online presence. Websites were costly and needed a web master who could code to maintain. I discovered this interesting website called a blog that was free, no HTML coding was necessary and there was this cool feature where people could talk back to you right on the post.
Diva Marketing was developed to help me understand the logistics. I fully intended to run it only for a couple of months. I mean, I had a website, why did I mean a blog too? However, something interesting happened. Within days people started reaching out to me in comments and eMails. They welcomed me to the blogosphere and told me they liked what I was writing. No one had welcomed me to the world wide web when I launched my website. I thought .. this is something different. Before I knew it I was sold.
Nettie: This is an incredible book – it is the first book on marketing/twitter to have had all the interviews conducted as well on Twitter – can you tell us more about why you felt it was important to have it in that format?
Toby: Thanks, Nettie! First, I was curious to understand if marketers would be receptive to a series of tweets focused on one topic over a period of time. This was before tweet chats became popular. To give the idea structure, I decided to format the content into chapters, similar to a ‘real’ business book. The chapters are developed based on the interviews with people working in the social media web. My thoughts were if it worked we’d produce a body of work that could serve as an easy to read resource to help people, not only understand the complexities of social media, but to serve as a guide to develop a social media plan. Twitter became not only the content platform but the distribution channel.
Although I got great response from the Twitter community, Twitter streams move fast and many people missed, or never saw the tweets. The content is too valuable not to be consolidated into a format that makes it easier to read. Since it was structured to be a “book” this was the next logical step. The response has been overwhelming! And of course the Twitter community has been instrumental in creating awareness!
Nettie: You talked to leaders in marketing including David Meerman Scott, Geoff Livingston, Ann Handley, B.L.Ochman and others – what was the one thing that most surprised you in the interviews overall?
Toby: No matter the topic, keep in mind there are twelve chapters and 40 interviewees, every person reinforced that to be successful social media must first begin with a strategy that includes objectives, goals and success measures.
Nettie: The book provides a “the roadmap GPS to empower your marketing journey” – what are three tips from the book interviews about using social media marketing?
Toby: Wonderful question and difficult to narrow it to three!
- It’s important to create a plan that not only includes objectives, goals and success measures but takes into the value that is provided to your target audience. Social media is about creating value not creating messages.
- The corner stone of a successful social media initiative is the trust that is developed between people. Break that trust, just as in any relationship, it is a long road to rebuild.
- Social media can influence customer’s perception of the brand, loyalty and purchase behavior. The challenge is walking the line of a good brand steward, where you are true to the brand promise, and being authentic in the conversations of the social web.
Nettie: With social media changing daily can anyone really call themselves a social media expert?
Toby: Perhaps not.
However, there are people who understand that social media is a unique strategy built on values of transparency, authenticity, honestly and a little passion. Those people understand that social media is not a cookie cutter one size fits all solution. They know that social media initiatives must be created to support brand values and the brand promise. They also realize social media is not contained to one department but impacts all aspect of the enterprise. At the end of the day, it’s about how to build stronger relationships in a digital world and I suppose who ever can do that well, can claim what ever title she wants. A rose by another name …
Nettie: What do you think is most exciting about how companies are using social marketing and how they will use it in the future?
Toby: I could say that the hot topics or shiny new toys are tools that focus on mobile and geo social networking like Foursquare and also augmented reality. However, as we’ve seen in social media what is here today can be gone tomorrow.
What I believe is people have a need to feel that they have influence over what is important to them in their lives (the products and services they use) that they matter and that they belong. When you think of it in those terms, the concept of social media –people talking-to-people brings us back to what I call the corner grocery story relationship. Shop keepers knew their customers, listened to their concerns and were active in the same community. It doesn’t matter what the next rendition turns out to be as long as it continues to create opportunities for people to better communicate within the digital world.
Which of course, so often leads to taking those relationships into the offline world!
Download Social Media Marketing GPS.