It’s funny. Most of my posts are about my battles with “The Traditionals,” those folks who are so set in their ways that they refuse to understand New Media. I know that they go home at night, hoping that this “New Media Fad” will be over so that they can go back to writing their same old Press Releases, going to their same old trade shows, and launching their same old marketing campaigns. But the joy of being a New Media Evangelist is when you get a convert, when you see the spark in their eyes and you know that they “get it.”
I’ve developed two classes for my company: Social Media 101 and Social Media 201. Over the past year I’ve presented them three times. Ken attended my first class; Kathy attended my second; and “J” attended my third. Ken and Kathy have jumped into New Media with enthusiasm; “J” has taken every opportunity that she can to napalm it. Ken and Kathy have seized the idea of New Media, put their personal flavor onto it, and have incorporated it into their worlds. “J” has not only successfully avoided it, but she’s convinced others to do the same.
But why? What is it bout these first two people that separates them from the third? Why do some people “get it” and others refuse to try? Why do some people see the power of these new communication devices, while others fight them with every fiber of their being?
The answer hit me on a nonstop flight from San Jose to Orange County California last week. I’ve gotten to know Ken and Kathy a little more over the past year and I’ve learned that they both share a similar trait — they trust people.
Social Media requires the ability to make connections with people — which comes down to trust. I’ve found that those people who are trustful, make the best New Media coverts. Those who have confidence in not only their abilities, but the abilities of their coworkers and their professional colleagues, they make the best converts. Those who don’t tend to have a harder time.
Who is it in your life that you trust? Your family? Friends? Spouse? I hope so. What about your boss? The company that you work for? Your customers? And what about your sources of information? Do you trust the information in a marketing brochure, a banner advertisement, or a direct marketing campaign? C’mon, be honest. If your life depended on it, would you really trust the information in a standard-issue-fake-quotes-outlandish-claims Press Release?
Social Media thrives on trust. If the role of marketing is to deliver messages to the marketplace, then trust is the Social Media vehicle that carries them the farthest. Here’s where we step onto very shaky ground with regards to the Traditionals. Traditional marketeers like “J” have never had to deal with trust before. Their job has been to seed messages, bring eyeballs to advertisements, and measure “hits.” All of these vehicles rely on control — controlling the message or controlling the conversation.
Unfortunately, control doesn’t work a “Trust Economy.” Think about it. Do you trust controlling people? Isn’t there another name for the person at the party who controls a conversation? Aren’t they called a bore?
Who do your customers trust? What are you doing to help gain your customer’s trust? What are you, as a CEO, CIO, VP Marketing, Director Marcomm, Director Public Relations or New Media Evangelist doing to engender the trust of your customers?