Modern Network Architecture

May 19 2013   11:59AM GMT

Social networking: Social networking expert

James Murray James Murray Profile: James Murray

Most of the deeply technical IT Experts I work with don’t spend a lot of thinking around social networking strategies.  I’m not sure why, but I think this might be because most deep IT experts much more comfortable relating to things (computers) or ideas (computer systems) rather than relating to people.  Being a Seattle business consultant, specializing in IT, I find most business owners I work with will eventually want a social networking strategy.  So how does a very introverted technical expert create a plan that focuses not on things and idea, but rather on people?

The first thing is to build a team of social networking experts.  Some of the experts I like to work with include Michael Hartzell (an expert in Guerrilla marketing and inbound marketing) Tracy Warren (An expert in Facebook and twitter marketing), Berry Zimmerman (an expert in Linked in and other Online community tools) and Eric Veal (an expert in integrating CRM to track social networking contacts).  The amount of knowledge and information these and other experts I work with, around the concepts of social networking is massive.

I’m still learning the concepts of social networking, but there seem to be several ways of thinking about social networking.  The first method I’ll call broadcast marketing.  Similar to television marketing, sends a message out to everyone regardless of interest in the message.  The second method is attraction.  Attraction methods of marketing are dependent on a much more focused message that is interesting to a very small sub-set of people online.  The information is so interesting that the small sub-set of people are attracted or drawn to the message.

When I started in this industry 21 years ago, I noticed that there were some rare individuals who seemed to almost intuitively understand the technical concepts.  These rare individuals were the true pioneers of the industry.  The problem was trying to get the information out of their heads and onto paper in a way that makes sense.  I find the same problem with Social Networking experts.  Like the early IT experts, these social networking experts understand these concepts intuitively.  They have a difficult time expressing the concepts.  I think this is because they don’t understand just how brilliant their minds really are or that this natural intuition is not part of everyone’s thinking.

I find that social networking experts are like those early pioneers I used to meet in the IT world.  They were brilliant, successful but sometimes appeared to live in their own worlds.  The amazing thing was that early pioneers laid the foundation for today’s modern network architecture.  I think we are seeing a new age in marketing.  I think we are at the stage where the social networking marketers are still struggling to explain their ideas.  Eventually though, traditional marketing may well need to take a back seat to these social networking pioneers.  As technical experts we are seeing our jobs moving offshore and into the cloud.  We need to re-invent ourselves to stay relevant.  Because most social networking experts are very social, but not as deeply technical as we are, I wonder if there isn’t an opportunity here.  Anyone looking to re-invent themselves might consider this space and how one might fit in.  Social network really isn’t going away.

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  • MichaelHartzell
    Excellent.  You brought to mind what questions to ask and how sometimes things which are part art may not have an explanation.  Instead it is a "walk like me and you will learn" process.  You can learn the technical aspects of dancing but you have to feel the music to truly dance well.

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  • BerryZ
    Working solo doesn't have to mean working alone. Our lives are so much richer when we surround ourselves with people we know, like and trust... especially if they complement our own skills and experiences. One of the greatest gifts of my life are my friends and colleagues who help me understand and navigate the big mysteries. Thanks for enriching my life.
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  • TraceyWarren
    Thank you for including me on this list. I am definitely more of a fan of the attraction marketing you mention and find that to be more successful than broadcasting!

    Social Media pioneer - I love it!
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  • James Murray
    Broadcasting kitten images or mass emailing, is old school pre-digital mass mailing type of thinking. Attraction is the name of the game in the modern online marketing. One of the things we forget is that even though we don't live in log cabins, we are pioneers. We are investigating new ways of thinking in a new virtual world. Yesterday's pioneers would be amazed if they were looking at our cities today. I think we'll be amazed to see where our first attempts take us in the future.
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  • James Murray
    Thanks Berry, I think you emphasize the point. When we think of 1's and 0's instead of the people who are affected by the technology, we really forget the impact social networking strategies can really have. When we think we are blasting out emails or trying to write content to the latest Search algorithm... we may technically be successful. Until we begin thinking in terms of the social aspects of online marketing, our work is just 1's and 0's. When we see the network as a social experience we realize that the right people will eventually find us. It's not about manipulation, but valuable content. Until we realize this, spam filters and software that cleans up adware will remain a major industry.
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