I’m starting a new feature today. Those who are on Twitter have likely seen and know about “Follow Friday” (or #FF in Twitter-speak). The idea behind Follow Friday is to share and recommend names of other Tweeters who you think are interesting to your followers. It was really a great idea and quickly exploded across the Twittersphere. However, as sometimes happens with great ideas, the concept got a little out of hand. Followers were offended or miffed if they weren’t included in your “Follow Friday” list and the task became even more difficult for those whose follower list was growing weekly.
What started as a fun exercise soon felt like a chore to many on Twitter. So it has died down considerably in the last year, but I still like the general idea and concept of recommending fun and interesting tweeters to others out there.
Thus, the birth of my “Featured Follow Friday” column. Each week I’m going to select one of my “Kaufer Favorites” Twitter list and will ask them a series of questions related to social media and how it has benefitted them personally and professionally (as well as any tips they would like to share with others).
My first favorite is Richard Brown (www.twitter.com/richphoto) – I have known Richard for at least 15 years now. He is married to Susan Pierson-Brown, one of my long-time best friends and PR colleagues (and fellow Oregon Duck). I’ve long admired his work and success as a professional photographer and of course, also think he’s a great guy.
About a year and a half ago, Susan told me that Richard was starting to really get into Twitter and Facebook – so I started following him (and of course friended him on Facebook). I soon discovered we had more in common than I previously realized (based on the types of articles and info we both shared and tweeted). Soon, Richard and I were using social media to communicate and share more than we had all the prior years we knew each other! And a few months ago I learned that he was using social media to launch another business venture (more on that below). So Richard was one of the first people I thought of when I decided to start this column.
I hope you enjoy this feature – please let me know if you have any questions you’d like me to ask or any other suggestions!
- David (@DavidKaufer; @Zenwerks)
Which social media networks do you use consistently?
Twitter #1 then Facebook and Linkedin – I also use SocialSmack, foursquare and whirrl
What was your “Aha” moment regarding social media (when/why did you decide to become engaged)?
Well, Facebook came first of course so I started there and at the time didn’t really think of its potential for business use and more of a catch up with friends, then Twitter came along and as soon as I saw that it almost instantly started driving traffic to my business website I realized its SEO potential and grabbed on full speed ahead.
I really became engaged when I was at DEMO conference for emerging technology in Silicon Valley, I attended as part of a small team we put together to run the DEMO social media during the event and by this I mean not just posting to twitter, we launched real time tweets, Facebook and Linkedin content along with video interviews and photography.
This was a huge high speed rush over three days (and) it certainly got my wheels spinning with new ideas and ways social media will become the future.
How has Social Media impacted you personally? How about professionally?
In general I keep to myself, I work mostly by myself and social media has brought me more out of the studio to network, in other words it has made me more social on a personal level.
On a professional level, it has certainly drawn attention to my current business in terms of driving traffic to my website, contacts made and business that has evolved from it and has opened many doors for collaboration and creativity.
Also it has brought new ideas for business ventures with other partners and am currently building these ideas with new customers involving social media.
You’ve even started a business focused solely on social media – tell us about it:
After collaborating with a few other people on some early projects involving social media and studying all social media avenues we combined several elements of social content together and after seeing the effects of it via analytics its nice to be able to show a client why they should be doing this, In most advertising you can do amazing things with print, direct mail, online advertising but its really hard to know exactly what your ROI is, this has always bothered me.
I learned from being a small business sending out some direct mail promos and realizing that the return was about one percent maybe up to three percent. What we are doing is very new but the elements are not- its a formula of putting together a puzzle of almost everything social media and sometimes making it happen live in addition to building elements and content that are usable for a businesses social media needs. Its a fascinating wave to be riding right now.
What advice do you have for others who are still not convinced about the value of social media?
This is a good question, Its not often now that I talk to someone that isn’t interested in social media, although early on many people would say things like ” I don’t get it” or “seems like another time waste”. I have noticed more people that turned it away not more than six months ago are now asking questions about it and wanting to get started. I tend to think its more about promoting something, be it a business, product, event or a good cause. Its amazing what social media has done to raise money for non profit organizations and spread the word about a good cause and in many ways helps educate people by directing them to data they may otherwise have never seen or heard of. I like to stay on top of technology, news and other content and I find it harder and harder to read printed material because its usually information you already know via social avenues.
Ok now to the advice: Nothing wrong with promoting, even if your just promoting yourself, embrace it because its not going away.
Who is a better tweeter – you or @SevenNovember? (his wife, Susan)
Hmm, I could get in trouble here.
Funniest Social Media moment?
I would have to say the funniest was meeting Neal Silverman of IDG in California, we were headed to a pre-DEMO dinner and walking down the sidewalk and I had not officially met him yet, he stops turns around and with excitement says “You’re the Twitter guy, you’re my favorite Tweeter, I recognize you from Twitter.” I thought that was really funny considering this guy is traveling all over the country year round and meets thousands of people.
Biggest Social Media pet peeve?
I will almost always un follow a user who blasts out 10 tweets in a row, they are most likely using automation to do so, its ok if its 10, 20 or 30 a day but all at once just kills me.
Any parting shots?
So many people are afraid to tweet or post much on Facebook, they think they don’t have anything to say, that’s the beauty of social media, never be afraid to talk about whatever you want, your interests, hobbies, events, favorite things, it really doesn’t matter. Eventually you will find people with similar interests following you and being social is networking so you never know what it might bring.