I attended a workshop last week at the Simsbury Library, where Suzi Craig was talking about social media. It’s a topic I’m always interested in, and I always learn some little thing that I didn’t know before…. But sometimes what you learned has nothing to do with the topic presented. Such was the case for me.
Start With The Strategy
First, the mass of confusion surrounding social media continues to beg for a strong sense of strategy to be brought to every digital media discussion. Why are you thinking about engaging in social media? What are your objectives? Answering these two questions will drastically simplify any further conversation with any social media expert.
Understand Your Audience.
She told the audience that she had sent a “tweet” out to her followers:
hey Twitterverse: talking Tweets, Posts and more with Simsbury CT crowd. If you’re out there give us more cowbell at: #simsburycowbell
She was asking for people to send a tweet back to her so that, as she displayed her Tweet Deck on screen, messages directly to the audience would appear. The audience of mostly 40- 80-year-olds had been struggling all night to wrap their brains around the basic concept of Twitter…. and now, when she started talking about “cowbell,” the audience collectively cocked its head, puzzled, and asked “Cowbell?” One brave soul raised a hand and asked, “Is cowbell some kind of Twitter phrase?”
For the few in the audience who understood this classic Will Ferrell-era Saturday Night Live reference, this comment was comical. The presenter tried to explain her meaning and then deftly turned to the misunderstanding into an opportunity to have the novice audience learn how to use YouTube by giving a homework assignment: “You need to go home and search YouTube in order to find the referenced clip (when I went to YouTube, I found that the clip has been taken off!).
So what’s the lesson?
Remember your audience.
When you are with a theater full of octogenarians, you can talk about the 1950s in a very different way then you could with a general I audience. For one, the 1950s constitute the past–is in history, something to be studied, and for the other, it constitutes their past. As a marketer, you need to speak to your audience in a way that resonates with them.
And by the way, if you don’t understand the cowbell reference, follow the links I have provided for a cultural education, Saturday Night Live-style.