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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Commonsense advice on Twitter and Facebook from the highly talented Ian Denny

My friend Ian Denny turned 40 last Friday. I wasn't able to go to the party in Liverpool - which surely saved me a train fare and a life-threatening hangover.

However, I predict his life is about to begin, as he is one of the smartest people I know; a highly imaginative copywriter with far more ideas than he knows what to do with.

Yesterday he sent something that rang enough bells to fill a cathedral belfry. I've edited it slightly, but the suggestion that Facebook is like a giant pub is brilliantly perceptive.

Just had to share this annoyance with someone! I find Facebook gets me lots of business and I'm too busy to figure out whether Twitter etc. work.

I just get annoyed being asked to become friends of something as dull as a CCTV camera supplier.

I can get to know John Smith who happens to supply CCTV cameras, and if I ever need one, I'll buy one from John. But not i-Security, Liverpool.

I don't fancy going to the pub to watch the match and have a pint with i-Security Liverpool. I may pop along with John though.

Anyway, I'm sure when the social media gurus eventually create some REAL rules, they may be something along these lines:

1) Make sure you use a real person's name when creating a Facebook presence. I just cannot relate to a logo or silly name. I find people far more interesting.

2) I'm sure somebody will give a load of money-making reasons why people may relate more to a brand. But I don't feel like talking to a brand unless I want to complain.

Do I buy from a brand? I do. But I'd much rather buy from a person. And on Facebook, I'm more interested in hearing from people - even when they're pitching something.

3) Social media like Facebook reflect real-life. People buy people. But not always instantly. It's about building rapport first.

4) Facebook is like a huge pub. Full of people. All listening, watching and making judgements. Some very loud and controversial characters do well from a noisy approach. It reflects their business and personality.
Be yourself. But don't get pissed, dance on the tables for all to see. Unless of course your business benefits from being loud and brash!

But in some lines of work, it simply isn't appropriate to be like that. Reflect your audience, but don't be completely dull and stale.

5) Post personal updates. It shouldn't always be about work. It should be opinion. It should be about football. Politics. A funny incident while walking the dog that morning. Anything that you would normally say to people if you were chatting face-to-face.

Mundane stuff which many gurus are bound to frown upon like "Had a BLT for lunch - delicious" may still get replies and build rapport, even though it's actually rather a dull thing to say. There's a subtle line to draw.

Personally, an awful lot of what I now do is underpinned by Facebook. It develops relationships. People attend the events I do as a result. Those people buy other stuff I do after they've been to an event - not always immediately.

Some who have become Facebook friends AFTER first meeting them have become customers afterwards. And without Facebook, I doubt that would have happened.

Out of interest, what's on your list? Am I right?

Has anyone proved yet that Twitter works? Am I alone noticing that Facebook complements other DM activity?

I agree with every word of that. Facebook does complement other activity. Within reason I think the more relevant media you use, the better you will do, as they create synergy. One of my clients just had a record month in the middle of this dire recession - or slump, which is the right word - because of this.

At my EADIM event here in London last year we managed to get Lucy Stafford, MD of WPP's Mindshare, to do a presentation which covered this very subject - and quite a few others.

Since I drafted this, someone wrote saying they could do amazing things for me via Twitter. So I've invited him to have a go.

If he accepts the challenge. I will feature his progress, so we can all learn.

Lastly, thanks to the 279 people who signed up at ludicrously short notice for my webinar yesterday. Not all of you made it, but judging by the comments you loved it.

I did record it, and will be doing regular ones for Commonsense Marketing members.

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