There is a very interesting project underway over at Cluetrain Plus 10 where bloggers are creating content to speak to the 95 theses enumerated in the book. A bit late, I’ve decided to take a swing and offer something to the project (it’s a very cool idea; if you haven’t yet, hop over and check out some of the people who’ve contributed; lots of great stuff). Anyway my question is 66:
66. As markets, as workers, both of us are sick to death of getting our information by remote control. Why do we need faceless annual reports and third-hand market research studies to introduce us to each other?
Newspapers are struggling. Media is becoming more and more “social.” The advertising channels that are most effective are now the ones that answer very specific questions. The barrier to publishing and being heard gets lower every day.
People want their corporate updates like they want their news: from a person. Someone they can respond to. Preferably with a hint of their own personal bias baked in.
This doesn’t mean you need to have a social media account on every channel imaginable. It doesn’t mean your plumbing company needs a Twitter account with X number of Tweets per day or that an independent SEO consultant is throwing money away not getting their stories Dugg. The fact that there is a flood of low-to-no cost tools to put you in touch with your consumers and employees doesn’t mean you need to try them all or even use the most "popular" among them. But you do need to use something.
Joe’s plumbing company probably doesn’t need a Twitter account. But it should have a website. Joe should answer Email, even if it just goes to an info@.
And if you’re an SEO consultant, you might want to be on Twitter. You should definitely be available to your customers via phone or Email, and you need to start to provide more in the way of explanation than charts and graphs.
The interesting thing here is that with so many new means of connecting, it’s important to find a balance between faceless top-down reporting and getting engulfed in conversation. You need to create the work that you can tell your clients, customers, or employees about. You also need to change the way you communicate your progress and your ideas; if, you know: you want to keep your clients, customers, and best employees.