Thursday, June 9, 2011

Old Social Media is Alive and Well - Are You Using All Your Tools?

When you think of "Social Media," what's the first thing that comes to mind? Twitter? GetGlue? Facebook? Gowalla?

As the pace of technology increases, and new social platforms and "solutions" are created and paraded practically every day by marketers and media alike, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the new - and it's easy to be tempted to throw away the old.

What do I mean by "Old Social Media?"

Mailing Lists, Groups (Google Groups are what used to be known as UseNET, Yahoo Groups are Mailing Lists) Forums and Discussion Boards can be just as relevant to your business today as they were ten or fifteen years ago. Remember - the medium isn't the message - the message is the message. Find your audience where they already are and reach out to them there. 

Case in Point: My wife subscribes to a number of extremely niche mailing lists. Yahoo Groups was not and never will be elegant, but it allows for a pretty high level of functionality for a mailing list owner and doesn't require any knowledge of ListServ commands for users. Let's face it, Yahoo Groups is pretty Lowest Common Denominator. Which is exactly why it can be so useful.

Low barriers to entry, exit and management, make Y!Groups a popular platform for old-school mailing lists.

And, as I say, my wife subscribes to several. One of them deals with the topic of Ancient Roman Cooking. This is exactly where a Mailing List excels. When you have a small, rather specific niche, having a mailing list is a great way to keep people who are interested in the topic up to date with events, news, and allow them to have focused conversations.

In this particular case, an author of a book on the topic took the chance to reach out to people who are immersed in this niche and let them know that an event of interest - at which she would be lecturing and dinner based on the famous Roman gourmand, Apicius', recipes would be prepared - was coming up.

Don't believe in the power of Mailing Lists? Too glamorous, tool old-fashioned?

Well, upon hearing about this dinner and lecture, my wife and I decided to fly across the country to attend. How's that for the power of Social Media?

Email marketing, mailing lists, groups all may seem horribly old-fashioned these days, but the the #1 rule of Social Media is "talking with people." Talk to them *wherever* they are. You've got too much to do already - don't ignore the tried and true over the new and shiny. Social Media is talking with the folks who walk in your office door, on your Fan Page, following your Livejournal or on your mailing list. They may not be shiny, but whatever gets you in front of people who care is the right tool for the job.

When planning out your Social Media, don't ignore the tools you already have in your tool belt. That's Good Social Media.
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