@amandachapel landed some strong punches and gave no quarter. I thought it was only fair to hear the other side of the argument.
Chris Brogan was kind enough to grant me an exclusive email interview like@amandachapel’s. There are some small differences: the model in the picture appears to be Chris himself. His bio does not offer details about the perkiness of any body parts. And no Chapel-esque undergarments are on display (at least, not in this cropping).
To keep things fair, I asked Chris almost exactly the same questions as @amandachapel.
So, let’s get to it.
@tjcnyc: Chris, how would you define Social Media? Specifically, what is it not?
@chrisbrogan: Social media is the two way web. It’s a series of software tools like blogs, social networks, video, and more that permit two way interactions on the web.
It is NOT a movement, per se. It is NOT a cure all. It is NOT the evolution of marketing. That’s like calling email the evolution of marketing.
@tjcnyc: Can social media offer real ROI, or is @amandachapel’s ROP (“Return on Prayer”) a fair criticism?
@chrisbrogan: Dell is a great case study. In 2005, a single blog post from Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine brought the search term “Dell” into a series of negative blog posts, burying a link to Dell.com at the bottom of the first page at Google.
Michael Dell needed to address the technical complaint, but also to get sentiment around the company restored to reasonable levels. He also had to get the search terms restored. Both were accomplished by GENUINE blogging and communication by Lionel Menchaca. Since then, Dell has launched IdeaStorm, which has had measurable results in product development, sentiment surveying, and more.
Other case studies exist, but we all agree that they are still few and far between.
@tjcnyc: I agree people can build their personal brands via social media. But what about major advertised brands, who must influence millions of people quickly? What role, if any, can social media play?
@chrisbrogan: Several brands are experimenting with the value of social media. Frank Eliason from Comcast is running the team around the Twitter account, @comcastcares. He’s received positive press from several publications, mainstream and otherwise. Others experimenting with these kinds of branding efforts include: JetBlue, TheHomeDepot, WholeFoods, Blackberry, Zappos, HP, Dell, IBM, Rick Sanchez from CNN, and several more. And that’s just Twitter.
Branding and outreach via social media is a really hot area right now, and though metrics are still slow in developing, it’s clear that several businesses are exploring this as an outlet.
@chrisbrogan: I think it’s not about scale in the longer term. I think it’s a series of personal touches. This is a really crucial point to bring up, though. Starbucks used to be the corner coffee store. It used to be the new guy. Now it’s vast and empire-like. Sentiment has changed around the brand perception. But did they do something wrong? Not at all. Franchising and scaling a quality product isn’t a sin.
Will this come easily to social media efforts? I don’t think it will be easy. But I do think there are opportunities to infuse some of what social media teaches (two way communications, mass personalization, human-focused business relationships) into other spots.
@tjcnyc: You’re one of the “A-Listers” @amandachapel has placed in the crosshairs. Why you? Are you angry, flattered, or both? Do you think @amandachapel adds to the conversation about social media, or detracts from it?
@chrisbrogan: I think Amanda offers a necessary service. When she’s doing her best work, her criticism is useful and gives me a much-needed stone to sharpen my blade upon. If I’m forever receiving praise and acceptance, I’ll miss chances to improve.
Amanda serves a very valuable niche need, but only when she’s ‘on.’ Calling people fat isn’t especially useful.
If I were advising Brian and the team behind Amanda, I would press for even more critical analysis. Drop more into the blog and get off the 140 character-only critiques.
@tjcnyc: If you had a marketer friend at a company like Procter & Gamble or Unilever who was actively considering a Social Media program, what are the five key pieces of advice you’d offer?
@chrisbrogan: Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. There’s five.
I feel that where marketing can gain the most ground is learning how to listen in a much more active, much more actionable, and much more human-scale way is one of the biggest opportunities.
Beyond that? Dip in NOW, try the tools, do some light stuff to just get a sense of what it means to have a blog, what it means to talk back and forth with people on Twitter, what it means to put up a Facebook fan page for a business. If you’re not in the lab right now, you’re like a T-Rex feeling fairly smug while we mastadons are all growing out our coats.
My thanks to Chris, and to @amandachapel for her interview in the original post. I’m hoping this will spark some good conversation. What’s your opinion?
If you’re a social media true believer, can you offer data that explains your passion? While I agree the Dell example Chris highlights is valid, I’d also agree when he says more case studies are needed.
I’m especially interested in programs that influenced millions rather than hundreds of people.
If you’re a social media non-believer, do you think Chris Brogan’s approach works? What about the scale issue?
All comments are welcome. After all, this IS social media