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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Andrea Learned on Bridging New & Old - Social Media Series

This week's guest for Flooring The Consumer's Social Media Series: Bridging New & Old is Andrea Learned.

Andrea Learned, a "marketing dot-connector with a focus on gender and a longterm view on coming trends," is a wonderful practical source of marketplace wisdom. Simply spend time on Learned on Women and you'll understand.

I got to 'know' Andrea because of my interest in marketing to women. Her insights on how women [and men] buy are wonderfully grounded and reflect cultural trends. Take her most recent post On Nurturing A Fresh Gender Perspective and note her generational observations, or Marketing to Women for the Common Man.

In fact, Andrea has evolved 'marketing to women' by focusing on right- and left-brain traits and gender perspectives, thereby avoiding the "gender trap and instead serv[ing] the highest consumer standard represented by 'women's ways' but serving everyone." [I'm certainly aware that, depending on the circumstances, my left-brain traits will take over; at other times, you had better not get in the way of my right-brain demands!] This evolution captures the value that comes from 'bridging new & old.'

Andrea co-wrote Don't Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy -- and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market, writes for The Huffington Post, and her most recent post on MarketingProfs Daily Fix is Targeting' Women Indeed: Satirical Widsom. Oh, and be sure, too, to read her Cool Friends Interview with Tom Peters.

C.B.: Andrea, how/why did you get involved in social media?

Andrea: I got pulled in, kicking and screaming, by my business friends - first to Facebook and then a few months later to Twitter. Their pitch was that it'd be a way to get my blog posts and my personality/brand in front of a lot more people with similar interests. I was skeptical... still.

C.B.: What do you like most about social media?

Andrea: I have seen that my old friendships were made richer via FB/Twitter, and I have made a lot of new friends, specifically in my local Vermont area, via Twitter - which I never expected. I like that it's an immediate way to share the random interesting articles that come my way but that I don't have time to think/blog about. I also like that I see immediate referral of my blog posts out to a broader world. I guess it sort of maps out the spread of my "influence" and also is a way that I gather even more cool articles/things to look at - many times from famous writer/editors of the publications I love. So, I can even get into conversations with people that otherwise would seem so out of my reach. I'm a natural connector, so this whole thing enhances that ten-fold.

C.B.: What do you like least about social media?

Andrea: That so many people post about how great they are (which are interestingly mainly male marketing types.. as in "I just met with the CEO of Microsoft and he's going to pay me $1 mill to do a presentation.") or to demonstrate how busy/high-flying they are. ("I just landed at SFO. So tired from my trip back from Hong Kong...") I have also seen people get way too intimate/personal with what they share, and they are a lot more free with their four-letter words and mis-spellings (which fascinates me because Twitter, especially, seems to be mainly about business use).

C.B.: How has social media changed how you interact with the marketplace as a consumer or customer?

Andrea: I feel like I have more "back story" from the few brand Twitter presences I see. I don't follow or join any "fan" clubs on FB, though. Random interactions work best and most resonate with me. (I'm a very deliberate shopper, so it's hard to "get" to me.) I haven't given this much thought though...since I really use Twitter (and I mainly use that, over FB, now) for business research and connecting purposes, not personal business.

C.B.: What 5 suggestions do you have for companies to implement so they can more effectively bridge old media with new media and connect with end users?

1- Don't make it a bigger deal than it is, or you'll never get started. Get onto the various platforms and follow a few people you already know you respect and see how they do things.

2 - Don't assume "social media" as next big thing is truly a good fit for your brand. It may not be - just depends who you are trying to reach.

3 - Do share, share and share... links and helpful information you'd pass along to your best buddy in your work-world. Then, when you have a blog post of your own or announcement to make, more people will see it as authentic and helpful rather than self-promoting.

4 - Don't be afraid to engage a bit with those who seem to question or take issue with your perspective. Interesting conversations and connections usually emerge.

5 - Select 3-5 (tops) key topics you want to be known for sharing about and those parameters will help you decide when to send a tweet or post something on FB. Make 1-2 of those topics the ones that are personal to you. For me, I don't have any significant work in socially responsible business, but I am personally passionate about it (and would love to someday work within that realm). I also have a thing for fitness/health so occasionally those Tweets will squeak out of me too.

C.B.: Any other thoughts to share about the effectiveness of social media in forging stronger relations with customers and how best to do so.

Andrea: My "customers," I guess, are my readers/prospective clients - and I find that the more you interact, or that they even see your name with an interesting Tweet, the more you will be remembered and sought out - beyond social media. If you are a cool, helpful person via social media and show integrity in all things - that, just like in the offline world, will bounce back as great connections/goodwill for future work.

Thank you, Andrea!

Comments? Questions? Feedback?

I love the notion of the 'back story' on a brand. That's what I consider 'texture' or 'dimension' - understanding what the greater context is and how it is relevant to me.

What do you think about what Andrea shares in her 5th suggestion: selecting 3 to 5 key topics that you want to be know for sharing about, with 1 or 2 of those being personal? Do you have approaches that work similarly?

For additional insights from participants in the Social Media Series: Bridging New & Old, please visit The Entire Bridging New & Old Series.

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Ricky said...

I share the same views. Liked your blog very much.

CB Whittemore said...

Ricky, that is wonderful. Thanks for adding your comment.

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Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

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