Social Media, to connect or disconnect

Is social media enabling us to better connect with our audience or are we becoming so automated in our technology that we are removing ourselves from them?

These days we can automate our blog post to stream into our website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace account. We can post our status on Twitter, which can automatically feed into our Facebook status and our blog. And nowadays we can do it all conveniently from our mobile phone. Does all this automation mean less contact with our consumer?

Propeller Media Works recently hosted a Social Media Jam session, (the first one in a series) to help local businesses successfully incorporate social media into their marketing plan. They covered everything from Social Media 101 to ways marketers can use Twitter to better connect with their customer. Local social media gurus shared tips and experiences on how they personally and professionally use social media to promote their brand.

Chris Middings, web editor for Seventh Generation (a Burlington-based company that sells green household products) was among the panelists at this workshop. He cited an example of how he was monitoring Twitter and found a woman who was complaining about spots on her dishes. Chris hopped on his Twitter account and gave her some suggestions on how to wash her dishes so there would be no spots. The woman now has had a first hand introduction to Seventh Generation that she might not have gotten off line.

Dave Gibson, founder of Propeller Media Works and host of the Social Marketing Jam session used Facebook alone to promote this workshop, of which over 50 people showed up. He also utilizes a company blog (called Inside Propeller), Twitter account and Facebook Page to offer an insight on what it’s like to work at and with Propeller, connecting to potential clients as well as potential employees.

Bob Kilpatrick, Director of Digital Development at Seven Days, discussed how he uses Facebook to promote events for his business and authors a blog called Good Carma which talks about cars and helps promote Auto Finder a service that connects consumers to car dealerships.

Elaine Young, Professor at Champlain College, was also a panelist at this event. Though her use of social media is not intended to promote the college, Elaine uses blogs, Facebook, Twitter to connect with students, colleagues, media and to learn how to use these tools so she can better teach her students.

Social media can be used in many ways and for many different purposes. There are an endless amount of opportunities to better connect with your consumer through social media. It has given us a unique opportunity to reach our customers in an authentic way and build relationships that we have never been able to build before.

So, yes, I think social media allows us to better connect to our audience in a more targeted and authentic way than we have ever been able to do before. What do you think?

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