No, it doesn't have anything to do with Christian fiction. But today I attended a Conference Board meeting on "Corporate Communications and Web 2.0" in New York City and spoke this afternoon on creating and managing online content. It's really been a great meeting.
So, before I talk about what I said, what did I hear?
It's better to understand Humans 1.0 than Web 2.0. Exactly right. Social media are about people and relationships. They're not about getting your "messages" to "targeted audiences."
Think tribe, not market segment. Think network, not "channel." Think customer-centric, not company-centric. Think messiness and fragmentation, not hierarchal fixed processes (oh, boy, is that something companies need to learn). Think fast -- people want responses FAST. This is about conversation, not responding with your pre-approved corporate messages. You're having a conversation with a real human being -- if you asked a person a question, would you wait three days for a response? Not likely.
What else did I learn?
You have to resist the urge to broadcast your "message" or your "news." Ted Skinner of PR Newswire pointed out that the rules of marketing don't apply in social media -- it's the rules of people that apply. The same could be said for Christian fiction. Think about the reader. The reader is a real person who buys your book. Don't mislead him or her.
And what did I say?
I talked about my team at work, and what they've accomplished. They've launched an issues blog and an online news publication. They've managed a Twitter account (1200+ followers) and our Facebook page. They've developed a YouTube channel. They've turned corporate employee communications into a best practice. They've stopped an online viral campaign against the company (virtually no one has done that before). They've done best-in-class online research. They've transformed our web site from boring brochureware to the dynamic news hub of everything we do online.
And the reaction from the conference attendees?
"You're my new hero." (Actual comment!)
"I can't believe a company like yours is doing this." (Actual comment!)
"I'm stunned. You give me hope for corporate America." (Actual comment!)
They treated me like a rock star. But it was my people who did the work.
I've been blessed more than I could have ever imagined. In corporate America, it doesn't get any better than this.