Does Anyone Care About Your Profile?

originally posted on Concept Hub

What is the most used word when anyone is describing the latest trends on the Internet?

Besides Web 2.0!

The word is Social; Social Media, Social Networking, Social Software, Social Bookmarking…

So what are a few things an organization needs to consider when they decide to launch a social media campaign?

How are you going to socialize? Who are you going to socialize with? Why do you want to socialize?

Recently I have noticed a trend of agencies helping their clients get into the social media scene by setting up profiles for them. The focus has been on placement and creative messaging. Unfortunately, that is a recipe for the same disasters that occurred when Walmart launched “Walmarting Across America” and felt the backlash of paying actors to participate on their behalf. Or when they launched their social networking site and tried to plant comments that spoke to teens, comments that were obvious sales pitches.

These are just two of the most well known faux pas of the Social Media world. There have been several other learning opportunities of what to do and what not to do.

Sometimes everyone has to a take a step back and ask “why did social media become such a popular trend anyway?” It was because a few people wanted to connect on a real and collaborative level, in spite of geographical and time restraints.

I like Robert Scoble. I met him at ConvergeSouth a couple of years ago. I thanked him for launching my business. I think that confused him a bit.

Although Naked Conversations seems over-referenced and was written a couple of years ago, I think we need to revisit the concepts a bit.

Robert did not set out to be a marketing genius. In fact, what he did would not win any AMA award, but it definitely started a new trend in marketing. But does Social Networking belong in Marketing? Marketing is about crafted messages, placement of such messages, lead generation, market knowledge, and so forth. Social Media provides a place for market knowledge. So yes, there is a place for Social Networking in Marketing.

Shel Israel, the co-author of Naked Conversations might argue that Social Networking belongs in PR. Public Relations is about protecting and/or enhancing your reputation, getting your message out to influencers and crisis management. Social Media is full of influencers. So, yes Social Networking belongs in PR.

Many advocates who believe that social networking is the future of business and will enhance transparency and authenticity would like to hear directly from executives or the employees in the trenches? But when do executives have time to participate online and who will “control the messages” from the trenches?

That gets back to why I like Robert Scoble. He set out to show that there were real people working at Microsoft. Right or wrong, he connected with the people that Microsoft served on a basic human level. That took courage and conviction. This started a trend that took off. The trend of making business personal again. The way it used to be in small towns with corner stores when employees knew that what they were doing served a purpose and when customers knew that businesses were there to serve a need.

Now that social networking has caught on will it be polished and positioned in such a way that we lose the essence that made social networking…social?

In an online world where everyone is competing for attention, polishing and positioning a profile page will gain as much attention as a banner ad, flier, or if you are lucky, a viral video or email that is passed around for a few weeks before something more interesting takes its place. But if you design your social networking strategy around being social, you will gain valuable insights from the people you are trying to serve, make a few new friends, and gain a community of raving fans.


I assure you that Shel Israel would never, ever argue that Social Networking belongs in PR. I would argue that the word “social” is not overused. It explains what is happening these days and how it is different from what used to happen.

Posted by: shel israel | November 25, 2007 at 01:22 AM


thanks for stopping by Shel! I sm more than happy that my readers can read that from you personally.