- Audiences (204)
- Awareness (149)
- Blogs (151)
- Brands (189)
- Communications (309)
- Conferences (24)
- Contest (13)
- Events (76)
- Excel (31)
- Expertizing (91)
- Facebook (165)
- family (80)
- Fundraiser (21)
- Google (63)
- Infographic (8)
- Interview (47)
- jobs (86)
- libraries (9)
- LinkedIn (56)
- Maine (249)
- Mobile Marketing (28)
- Music (10)
- Nonprofit (40)
- Photos (192)
- Pinterest (59)
- Podcasting (10)
- PR (335)
- PR Maven (179)
- QR Codes (7)
- Royal Wedding (3)
- Search Engine Optimization (90)
- Skowhegan Savings (3)
- Social Media (267)
- Society of American Travel Writers (9)
- Speaking Engagements (46)
- travel (89)
- Trek Across Maine (2)
- Twitter (87)
- Uncategorized (206)
- Web sites (136)
- Weekly Features (292)
- Workshops (54)
- Writing (35)
- YouTube (33)
Tips from an Unintentional Social Media Expert
Happy Monday! Today’s Maine Maven is Rich Brooks of flyte new media in Portland, ME. Rich is “from away;” he grew up in Needham, MA and graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Rich started flyte new media in 1997 in Jamaica Plain, (JP!), MA, and moved to Maine to be with his now-wife, Cybele. They have two beautiful girls– “thanks to the genes of said wife”–who enjoy snowboarding, playing games on their father’s iPad, and babysitters.
Rich is the co-founder of Social Media FTW, an organization that puts on conferences to educate businesses and non-profits on the power of social media marketing. He is a nationally recognized speaker on Web marketing and social media topics, and is the “tech guru” on 207, the evening news program on Maine’s two NBC affiliates. Rich also teaches a class on Web marketing and social media for entrepreneurs at USM.
Rich can often be seen giving free advice to those people who buy him expensive tequila and/or scotch. Don Julio Blanco and Johnny Walker Black are his favorites.
Rich shares that he will be putting on tons of local educational events for companies and non-profits looking to grow using digital marketing, and if you’re interested, you should sign up for flyte’s free email newsletter here: http://www.flyte.biz/resources/newsletters/.
1.) Rich, you have said that social media is good at strengthening “weak ties” and that actually it’s the weak ties in our lives that could be the most important. Tell us more about that.
There’s been a bit of research around the ideas of “weak ties,” those people on the outside of your network. As the theory goes, if you’re looking for a job (in this example), you’re more likely to find that job through one of your weak ties than through a strong tie, like a family member or close friend. This is because our close ties often have the same knowledge base that we do, thus adding little to help us.
Weak ties, on the other hand, are traveling in different circles, hearing of different opportunities and making connections with people outside of our regular network. In many ways, they can provide more–or at least different–value than our close ties.
Although the original scholarly article by Mark Granovetter appears to be password protected, I found an article at Wired.com about weak ties and what Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and Outliers, has to say about weak ties and social media: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/weak-ties-twitter-and-revolutions/.
Also, I’ve developed friendships with a number of presenters and marketers at conferences like Blogworld and SXSW. In the past, I could only hope to run into them every six months or a year, and hope we were both attending the same conference. Yes, there was always the phone, but making a one-to-one phone call is somehow a bigger commitment.
Through social media–specifically Twitter and Facebook for me–I can keep up to date with what’s going on in their lives, chatting back and forth. When I do see them we can just jump into casual conversation, rather than “so, what’s been going on in your life?” Social media helps strengthen what would have been weak ties and keeps our friendships afloat in between events.
2.) What success stories have you experienced through social media for flyte new media or your clients?
Chantal Young, who ran Chantal, the high-end women’s clothing store in Portland, started blogging for her business. She did a fantastic job of blogging about the type of topics her audience cared about, like recaps of Project Runway, insights into fashion, and even blogging about what some celebrities were wearing, especially if she carried them in her store or online. Many times she sold out of a product before it even hit the store because she had built up an audience of interested subscribers.
Flyte generates business all the time from our activity in the social networks. Very often people fill out the question “how did you hear of us” with “I follow you on Twitter.” I also see that a lot of the non-search traffic to our site comes from blogs or social media. Recently I noticed that traffic that came from our branded YouTube channel converted (filled out our contact form) over 700% more than the average site visitor.
I better cut this answer short so I can go and make another video.
3.) You have used social media to position yourself as an expert in social media. Has that been part of an intentional overall strategy or did it just evolve that way over time?
Intentional? Overall strategy? You obviously don’t know me very well.
Everything I’ve ever learned is by experimentation, accident, or pure, dumb luck. Often, all three.
However, I am pretty good at noticing when something starts to happen. I pay close attention to our site analytics, to conversations online and off, and general buzz from people I respect. So, when I noticed at Blogworld that people were starting to play around with Twitter, I jumped on. Ditto with Facebook. I’m still not overly impressed with Google+, but a number of people much smarter than I am dig it, so I’m going to spend some more time with it in 2012. Those people include Marc Pitman, Monica Wright and Chris Brogan. In other words, people you should be listening to.
As I saw some early successes with our own social media marketing, I talked about it. People seemed really interested, so I talked some more about it, in presentations, in newsletters and in blog posts.
My article, How to Use Twitter for Business, has been viewed over 44,000 times and still brings in hundreds of people every month who had never heard of flyte. That’s crazy.
Flyte’s mission is to help small businesses grow through digital marketing. So I’m going to play around with just about any marketing or communications tool that can be delivered through the Web or mobile. For me, that’s not work, that’s fun.
So, it didn’t start out as intentional, but once I realized that it was a way to help attract our ideal customers, I felt more comfortable making it a bigger part of my business day. Also, I love to present and I love to write, so for me this is a natural fit.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a social media expert; however, I do appreciate that if you’re new to social media you might get the impression that I know what the hell I’m doing.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m just willing to experiment with this platform in a public way, and so far it’s worked out for me. Mostly.