Peter Shankman at TIMA

November, 2008

Today I had the pleasure of listening to Peter Shankman (@skydiver) talk social media at the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association monthly luncheon. This was one of the best social media talks I’ve heard, as @DjWaldow pointed out, it was on par with @GaryVee.

I tried to take notes on his big points, I’m dumping them here with a little bit of formatting. My thoughts are in italics. Please feel free to ping me for clarification.

You can’t make something viral, but you can make something good but it helps if you enable it

Talking about Where The Hell Is Matt (showed the video)- You forward this because you want to, not because he asked you to. You’re gonna go home and find it and send it to all of your friends. You’ll be 4 months late, and a bit of a loser, but that’s cool. I love this guy – he’s hilarious

In ‘96 people though the internet was AOL, people would say “I use AOL to DL pics of Pamela Anderson, how could you do something for business with that.

In order for something to become viral 10-15 years ago it had to be really good. You couldn’t just copy and paste it, you had to work to spread it on. this goes back to what I said, it’s about enabling

No one said, “Hey, let’s create a social net where everyone can microblog to everyone else that is important. They said “Hey, can we a network where people can exchange info.” This stuff takes off when people find it useful. Think, twitter wasn’t really started as what it is today. Neither was paypal — google that one.

As a society we are changing massively, due to a confluence of tech. Until recently old white men have just run the country. What’s happened? Things like tyco, worldcom, enron, etc. That’s what happens when old white guys run the country and say “We’ll tell you what you can know, we’ll decide what it is” Younger people have watched all these companies implode.

Now that old white guys are dying, cause that’s what they do, and young people are taking over. The people coming in are saying “We’re not going to do that. We saw what happened last time. We’re going to make this transparent.”

Prediction: Press releases will be dead in 36 months. You will put info out there in better faster ways
I’ve seen marketwire looking to come up with new media avenues for press info

Here are the top three things:

  1. Transparency
  2. Relevance
  3. Brevity
  4. (there’s a fourth, but we’ll get there later)

This isn’t all too different from what I often recommend for email communications, it just makes sense

Transparency – If people can’t get that from you then they will go away and get it from somewhere else.
Brevity – The way people want their info is how you have to give it to them.
Relevency – MTV Generation, had 3 min attention span due to music video, now people have 140 character attention span.

If you can’t say something in 140 chars then you need to fix it. distill it Peter says this to his clients. (Doesn’t work so well with someone you are dating though!) Obama chose his running mate in 56 chars.

The three items on this list together are very powerful – tell a story the way people want, quickly, and in a way that is relevant to that person WIN

Press releases are going away, the concept of pro and personal profile is going away. In the next 12 months, there will just be you. bye-bye linked in.

It’s about interaction, it’s not about connections. If you don’t interact with them they shouldn’t be in your life stream. Technology is now simple, and it is ubiquitous, so now its being shared and made part of everything. Talking about the flip cameras, how amazing they are.

Right now people are scared of facebook, because they may be unjustly tagged. Within 12 months, facebook will make tagging proactive – where you have approve tags of you. People don’t want their stupid friend screwing them up. We will start to re-evaluate what we consider a friend. We will rate people in terms of the info and advice they provide.

The fourth word in that list above, ok it’s not a word but a phrase:

Top of Mind Presence

e.g. Barry Miller – was head of paramount, then HSN and USAnetworks, now some interactive thing. He would pull 10 random business cards a day and call them. He would just say hello and getting to top of mind presence. Within 3-4 months he would go through his book. So 3-4 times a year you’d hear from him. ALWAYS TOP OF MIND.
He was able to do this before facebook, outlook, friendster, etc.

The story of the Will It Blend. The Marketing PR guy caught the CEO trying to blend a rake. He was all WTF?! Then he had an epiphany and brought in a flip camera the next day, got it on the web You know the story, if you don’t, then you have a lot of catching up to do…

The job of PR is to drive revenue. Will it blend: did it drive Revenue? Yes, sales up over 500%, it’s not just for kids. Adults are saying, “Well if it can blend a rake…” SOLD

Use social/viral media so it not only benefits you, you need to benefit others. In our society we expect to be treated like crap. When we order diet coke, we expect to get a coke. If you treat your customers one level above crap, not even good, then they will become fans. Treat them well, they will become raving fans and do your PR for you.

Social media is simply a way for you to create raving fans (btw, read the book Raving Fans). You want people to be able to go out and preach your gospel. Social media is the ability to get people to tell your story.

Agency in NY that did not ‘get’ twitter. He types in a client name of this Agency in Saw some one talk about how awesome it is. You should track this person down and send them tons of free stuff. Free shirts, sticker, another game. She will twitter that, it will drive excitement.

We love to make people miserable with our good fortune. If you give some one something free they will talk about it. Makes others jealous, they want it too.

We’ve never had more of an opp to turn people onto evangelists. Twitter is a free focus group, realtime observation, fantastic! great point!

If you pay some one for the PR you have to make that clear, cause you will get found out. Talks about the walmarting across America blunder.

All in all, this was fantastic. If you have a chance to see Peter speak, do it, you’ll love it.

  • Kristen Gregory

    Adam – I’m so glad you posted this. It was a very fun read, so I’m sure listening to Peter live was especially entertaining and enlightening.

    I thought this was an especially intriguing thought: “In our society we expect to be treated like crap. When we order diet coke, we expect to get a coke. If you treat your customers one level above crap, not even good, then they will become fans. Treat them well, they will become raving fans and do your PR for you.”

    It’s pretty amazing how you can impact your brand presence and reputation through a few isolated customer interactions that are then discussed via social networks…

  • Adam

    Kristen, I agree, the power of social networks is definitely impressive.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Mike J

    Great post and Peter always has some great things to take away. Here is a post of a presentation he gave in November 2009 for The Public Relations Society New York Chapter: