9: Discovery

Simply creating a profile or setting up a blog does not make you a participant in the online community: you have to be active in making it known to others. This chapter means to discuss various ways to make your presence known.

Creating and Publicizing Your Brand

The value of the network is the people who are on it. The design and features of a given community site are service are far less important than its being used by friends, colleagues, and others with whom you wish to interact.

There's a brief mention of the "second degree network," which are the people to whom your immediate circle of friends are connected. This represents a much larger number of people, a broader array of knowledge and experience, and a great deal more potential for opportunity than the people with whom you have a first-degree connection.

In terms of marketing, the people who connect with your brand online are likely already among your most enthusiastic customers. They are also your pathway to new customers, as those who do not know your brand are more likely to connect with someone who does rather than to make a connection to a brand that is unfamiliar to them, and are more likely to pay attention to what their friends, rather than a marketer, has to say.

Back to publicity: you will like get some kind of audience as soon as you publish online. These are people who take an interest in investigating anything new, and who may visit only once or for a brief period of time before concluding that they aren't interested.

The author suggests that if you fail to retain followers, you might consider adjusting your "style" - the tone of your online voice and the nature of your interaction. (EN: This misses the mark entirely. If you have nothing interesting to say, it doesn't matter if you say it with panache.)

She also takes a half-hearted swipe at search engine marketing, goofing with keywords and meta tags to get more attention. (EN: Same problem. Tricking people to visiting a site that doesn't contain anything that has genuine appeal and value gets you a high bounce rate and no real visitors.)

Then, a bulleted list of more:

(EN: The most important thing is completely missed here, as it is missed by many brands and people online: give the audience something of value. You can use every one of these little tricks and still fail to build and audience. More to the point, you can do all of these things completely wrong, and still build a sizable, stable, and loyal following if people benefit from the information you share using social media. There really is no substitute for relevance and value of content.)

Using Social Media for Job Hunting

The author relates a few quirky and unusual ways that people have promoted themselves to employers online: using YouTube to post a "professional" video appeal to prospective employers and using Google AdWords to purchase ads for yourself using the names of specific executives in your industry. (EN: whether such things are innovative or desperate is subject to debate, but regardless, the novelty factor wears off when others copy the idea.)

For individuals, being an active participation in social media demonstrates your knowledge, skills, and aspirations to "a potentially unlimited number of employers." This includes not only the professional information you disclose on your profile, but your participation in discussion and membership in groups.

She briefly mentions that job-grubbing in social media is undignified and likely ineffective: a person who pesters people about hiring the, especially if they just joined a network and have done nothing else, is regarded as a pest rather than a promising candidate. However, if you have a robust presence in social media that started well before you began job-hunting, you can leverage the connections you have made to find opportunities.

The second-level network is especially valuable to the job hunter. Your immediate circle of friends may not be looking to hire you (EN: because many of them are likely your peers, not "one level up" in the corporate hierarchy), but they have connections to others to whom they may recommend you.

Some random tips for job seekers:

Using Social Media for Recruiting

For recruiters, the ongoing problem is sifting through the multitudes of people who want a job to find the few that are actually qualified. The vast number of people online only compounds the problem. If you publicize an opening as widely as possible, you will get a vast number of applicants.

Engaging in social media will give you a presence in places where the "good" candidates congregate, enabling you to promote an opening in places where qualified applicants are most likely to see it and unqualified ones are less likely to stumble across it.

(EN: Casting too wide a net is one problem, but the greater problem is the very nature of passive approach to finding talent. The notion of "finding" is significant - if merely toss out some bait and wait to see who turns up, you get a lot of scavengers. It takes some effort on your part to go out and find the good candidates, and chances are the best people aren't looking for work, so you'll have to be aggressive in pursuing them and accept that you may have to compete with their present employers. Few employers seem willing to put much work into the recruiting process - even now that social media makes it so much easier - and merely prove the truism that "you get out of it what you put into it.")

Another good idea is to leverage the people you already know to find others: ask professional contacts if they know of a person who has specific skills. Recruiters are often in competition for resources, but there are also instances in which a recruiter may know of someone who isn't a good fit for their niche, but might be a good fit for a colleague's needs.

If you fail to appeal to a talented individual, you an also attempt to milk them for referrals, or check out their social media presence: chances are that there are similar professionals in their personal network - such that there may be an equally qualified candidate among those who comment on their blog or interact with them in social media.

Social media also gives recruiters and employers access to more information than they can legally request: you can identify topics of genuine interest, assess their intelligence and attitude by the content of their blog and online posts, and discover things about them that they may be reluctant to disclose or even try to cover up, such as a drug or alcohol addiction.

(EN: This is where it crosses into a gray area. Facebook is a boon to employers that discriminate based race, age, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political affiliations, and other factors. It is also a potential liability for firms who claim not to discriminate, and who may not actually consider these factors, but which use social media sites where this information is disclosed in making hiring decisions.)

Discovering the Influencers in Your Audience

The most critical step in social marketing is discovering people who have influence in the social network. Traditional marketers are entirely unskilled at social marketing, and their experience at broadcasting often leads them in entirely the wrong direction: they seek to reach a broad audience of buyers, indifferent to the damage they do to those who are not presently inclined to make a purchase

To be clear: social marketing is not about reaching as many people as you can, but reaching those who have the greatest influence, whose recommendation will bring the prospects to your brand. If you find the right individuals, they will spread your message across the network. If you blast out spam, your reputation will be marred.

(EN: A point the author misses, and one that is critical to social marketing, is that influencers are valued by others because of their discretion and are cautious. They will not pass on your marketing information, unedited, to a mass of people. They will consider it, pass it along only when it is relevant, and are cautious about being honest and trustworthy with others.)

From a purely quantitative perspective, you can assess the potential value of a person by the number of people with whom they are connected: the more "friends" a person has, the more opportunities exist for them to spread the word. However, per an earlier point, quantitative measures are not always the best indicator to use: a person with thousands of friends often has very little influence. Assessing the quality of a person's connections - the amount of trust that others have for them - is much more difficult and cannot be easily quantified.

To find quality connections, you likely need to consider the specific characteristics of a person who would be interested in your brand. You can look within Facebook to find groups of people who have more specific characteristics, or look to some of the hundreds of smaller networks of people with specific interests.

(EN: This is perhaps a bit too much like traditional segmentation, but it still seems valid: an advertisement on Facebook is akin to an advertisement in USA Today in that it reaches a broad and general audience; whereas an advertisement in an online community devoted to stock trading is more like advertising in the Wall Street Journal, where you reach fewer people, but those with a specific interest in financial products.)

Likewise, advertising on social media sites can be very tightly targeted because users share a lot of information on their online profiles.

Better still are the tools that enable you to conduct a search for users whose posts contain keywords related to your product. This gets beyond stereotypes about race, gender, age, and income (the assumption that middle-class Asian males who are age 30-40 will be interested in your product) and instead considers a single factor: people who talk about a product are interested in that product, and possibly your brand. Most of these tools are currently designed simply to track the volume of conversation, in an aggregate sense. It still requires a tedious amount of manual effort to identify them as individuals.

Once you have engaged those individuals who are most interested in your content, your presence will grow: they will mention your brand, follow it, link to it, pass along information you post, and engage in other activities that call the attention of their own friends and followers to your brand.

The author (finally) mentions the need to provide useful, relevant, and informative material in order to engage an audience. Sales pitches are routinely ignored, as are standard press releases. The only specific tip the author mentions is that "how to" articles are popular: a YouTube video on "how to remove grass stains" will sell more detergent than a Facebook post that says "our brand of washing powder is great at removing grass stains."

Starting Your Social Media Plan

The author has seen "lots of poor quality campaigns" in social media, such as marketers spamming their followers with the same promotional message repeatedly, in every available channel. Not only do the campaigns fail, but subscribers flee and the firm develops a negative reputation.

Then, bullets: