I have worked with Adam Quinn and the team at Philadelphia’s Vius on a couple of projects: my short-lived (but really cool) online hockey magazine, Pennsylvania Puck, and on the Goulet Communications website. Adam has been a go-to guy on multiple occasions when it comes to the finer points of navigating social media. I went to him again with the questions that follow.
What do you see as the key differences between Facebook and Twitter, both in terms of audiences and effectiveness?
I don’t know if there are “key differences” between the two modes of communication inherently. The differences lie in the communities of people you seek to communicate with. Facebook and Twitter are just tools to disseminate your message. The key difference is where your audience congregates and what message will gain its attention.
The effectiveness will be determined by what you’re trying to accomplish and how you go about doing it. There may exist niche communities within each network. Finding those communities will be the most effective thing. Which network they frequent will be case by case.
Social media can consume a great deal of time: How can you engage with it without becoming lost in it?
The key is being aware of your purpose for using social media. When you have some sort of goal to accomplish, the key is to understand that goal clearly and what steps you must take to accomplish said goal. For me at least, knowing the steps I need to take diminishes distractions. But also know that distractions will happen and sometimes it is okay to let them.
What websites, magazines or other resources would you recommend for staying current on social media trends?
I use Twitter to curate my information intake. I follow people who tweet about things that I am interested in. They act as a filter for my intake. Other things I read include:
No doubt social media is here to stay. But it is still relatively new. What reservations do you have about it?
My biggest reservation is the advertising model social networks use to generate revenues. Advertising creates interference in interpersonal communication. If advertising becomes too pervasive then communication could possibly be disrupted.
It’s an interesting problem these networks face: they have opened a channel of communication that people rely upon, however it exists beyond the realm of a traditional product/service relationship that communication providers have with their customers.
Yet, as businesses they must make money. So they can sell out their users with ads or, as I’d rather see, they can find new revenue models: less pervasive advertisements, useful product suggestions, revenue sharing with Internet service providers. I don’t really know what it could look like, I just know I would rather not see ads for things I don’t need in my Twitter feed.
The other reservation is the vapidity of social networks. What’s hot one year may completely shift the next. It’s hard to recommend putting all your eggs in one basket; it’s best to diversify.
What brands impress you with the way they use social media?
What I like about social is that I can control what I see. In that case, I try to manage my experience to only see brands for stuff I care about. From my perspective, brands that use social well:
- Patagonia does a great job of telling its story
- Jay Peak Resorts’ social media team has picked up content publishing big time, and this translates to more engagement
- Red Bull’s YouTube channel is all about content.
Facebook “likes” are one measure of engagement, but don’t we need to dig deeper to know whether all of the effort is worth it?
Likes are what analysts would call a micro-conversion: a small step toward a bigger goal. To answer the question of Facebook’s worth, I believe you need to take a step back and see all the micro conversions in context of the larger campaign.
To answer you question directly: yes, we do need to dig deeper. Or perhaps a better way to put it is to step back and look at the bigger picture.
What does your crystal ball tell you about social media trends in 2014?
Richer media experiences and increased mobile usage. Expect more video and photo-related changes with social.