Social Media School

It seems almost everyone raves about being a social media expert and has the skills to grow your business using social media tools, but few deliver on their promises. I do believe social media marketing and communication is a skill. I don’t consider myself an expert on the topic … I even shunned such a concept when tools like Facebook started gaining traction 5-7 years ago.

It wasn’t until 2006 when I caved and joined Facebook after circulating a “10 Ten Reason to Hate Facebook” to many of my friends. A year later I claimed my Twitter name, but tweets didn’t start being posted until 2010. As for blogs– the Godfather of social media – I’m hardly an active contributor as you can tell from very infrequent posts.

As I said, I’m not an expert. But, I am learning more ways to incorporate social media into communication pieces for personal and professional initiatives.

Scott Stratten, who I feel knows what he’s doing with social media, built a following using Twitter @unmarketing then pushed his blog as a space to engage readers. His concept of “Stop Marketing, Start Engaging” is not new, but it’s his honest and upfront approach that helps create a human connection to a brand.

I’ve had a chance to hear him speak and I’m one of his 62,000+ followers on Twitter. He promotes authentic marketing and relationship building as proper means to grow your business. It’s a simple concept, but one that many people fail to recognize.

As Scott releases his new book, UnMarketing, it gives me – and the 62,000 others following him – a lesson on social media marketing and brand differentiation.

His first lesson in brand differentiation uses a traditional marketing tool for books; a book tour. Traditionally, book events are hosted in bookstores that adorn downtown streets and shopping plazas. Scott’s first rule, “No bookstores – I have no urge to sit at a table signing books with no time for conversation. This is about connecting with people.”

Seems like a logical rule for someone who promotes consumer engagement rather than marketing.

As for social media marketing lessons, topics on Facebook, blogs, and Twitter have already started.  One lesson is UnBook in the Wild pictures uploaded on Facebook then shared through Twitter. These fun pictures are a way to remove some traditional barriers writers and marketers have with their readers.

Another lesson includes transparent and authentic blog posts into Scott’s worries about writing his book (Writing the UnBook: The 5 Things I’m Scared About). Most writers likely feel similar worries about their first book, but few have the fortitude to share with everyone. This honesty is empowering to potential readers of his UnBook. It makes you want to read his book and outline a draft of your own book.

Social media allows more communicators to become transparent and authentic. The authenticity Scott shows as he reveals his fears reminds me of the Process Marketing concept. This is where communicators find ways to bring consumers into product creation and product life cycle processes, which creates multiple points of interest in a brand or product.

As an emerging communication tool, social media lessons will be taught every day through Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.  Social media will not guarantee companies find an ideal communication channel, but it will increase the chance.

So, it seems class has started and Mr. Stratton – or is that Professor Stratton? – is teaching through social media. This should produce an interesting case study for using social media, or maybe a follow-up book The UnMarketing of UnMarketing.

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