Day Nine: I attempt to make sense.

Who gets to be a pro?

I realized I threw this title on last night’s post without much of a connection. After a night of rest and reflection, things make a bit more sense to me now.

I attended the conference on behalf of my current job. They very nicely let me go even though the information presented has very little to do with my position. I expressed an interest and they appreciated that. So I sat in the audience as an amatur, learning from the professionals.

In my humble opinion, the professionals are the users. The people you hire to build your online marketing plans should be the students.

To expand a bit on what I started last night, the presenters at the conference were all great. Smart folks with a proven track record. But I didn’t hear them address the user experience, and, in the same vein, the future. Facebook is about the change. Google+ will most likely gain momentum. Businesses will have to find new tactics to successfully facilitate the personal relationships they all want with their consumers. When I think about Public Relations and it’s place in social media, I get a stomach ache. Literally. It can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s always changing. Your desired demographic will have a new online gathering place almost every other week it seems.

Brian Solis just published a hot little entry on the subject of what online brand loyalty actually means. We’re finicky little creatures, we users. We’re harder to figure out than any high school girl. When someone, “Likes,” or chooses to stop following a brand online, you kind of want to take them by the shoulders and scream, “What do you want? What are you trying to tell me??!!”

You can read the article by Mr. Solis here. You can’t just get a consumer to follow you. You’ve got to understand why they did it, what it means, and what they expect from you next.

At one point, a panel was asked how much time a day they spend executing their digital marketing plans. I wanted to ask how much time a day they spend preparing for their NEXT digital marketing plan. There’s no rest for the wicked in this game. If you want to find success in this field, you’ve got to always be looking, learning, and listening.

Julia Balfour, owner of Julia Balfour, LLC, was the one presenter I heard to push this point. She smartly addressed that you’ve got to be watching the, “Big Boys,” the companies whose success you want to emulate. When she asked the audience if we knew Facebook Timeline was coming, I wanted to run up to her seat and slam a high five.

Again, I’m smart enough to know that the opinion of one chick with a lot of coffee in her system and an iPad (me), doesn’t really stand up to those who have made careers out of their advice and knowledge. However, I spend a lot of time trying to pay attention. I’m a member of a demographic, and companies try to reach me through social media. I know what I like, and what I don’t. And I want to be a professional one day. I imagine potential employeers might ask about my experience. While I’d like to tell them I’m an undercover social media marketing ninja, I think this might be over kill. But I will be able to tell them I’m a user, consumer, and constant student, and I think that’s incredibly valid right now.

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