As you all well know, I’m very much from the technical side of the web, and have been known to be a little critical of some of the more, let’s say, marketing focused people, so the focus of my talk was to show that social networking isn’t all about selling, it’s about interaction. At the end of the day, online social networks should be an extension (not a replacement) for real-life networks and should be treated as such. In real life, if you only call on friends when you want a favour, you aren’t going to have any friends left – and the same applied to online social networks.
I got asked a number of times “How many hours do you spend on social networks?”. It really is the wrong type of question to be asking, because I hang put on Twitter and the port 80 forums (Yes – forums are social networks too) because I have a genuine interest is what is going on with in these groups. It’s not about ROIs or won leads, it’s about conversation. If work comes out of that (and it does) – then fine.
So how was this relevant to a bunch of marketing kids? Well, the point I was trying to make was that interaction creates an association with your and your product, which encourages online “word of mouth” marketing. It’s less in your face and more targeting that whacking whopping great ads all over numerous sites. It’s probably a little harder to quantify, but it is still a solid methodology (says the man with the Computer Science degree).
It really enjoyed listening to Justin and Ronnie. Justin has a marketing degree, but is currently working heavily in the technical side of things, which acted as a great conduit between my talk and Ronnie’s. He made some really interesting points about the changing face of PR (So what would have happened if Apache Gas had a blog?). Ronnie comes from the old school of marketing and advertising (that is the creative, clever side), and although he admitted himself that he had a long way to go to fully grasp what can be done with Web 2.0, his attitude to what can be done was pretty refreshing.