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An Interview with Social media blogger and Online Marketing specialist, Ekaterina Walter

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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Ekaterina Walter is a marketer, thinker, speaker, and connector. As a Social Media Strategist for Intel, Ekaterina works at the intersection of high tech and integrated marketing—driving campaigns and helping colleagues to leverage new media in support of business goals. Here she talks to Web Courses Bangkok on the Facebook generation and how business can manage real time media.

For those who don’t know your work could you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a Social Media Strategist at Intel responsible for company-wide social media enablement and corporate social networking strategy.

Every business seems to have a Facebook page, what makes one standout?

Well, you can create a pretty graphic on the landing page. That’s one way of drawing attention. However, the key is to provide content of value and engage your fans in the discussion long-term.

You can have a very basic and plain page, but have a lot of engaged and passionate fans. Provide great and entertaining content that fans will want to share with their friends.

Listen to what they have to say, answer their questions, address issues. And be human all the way throughout.

FBML* is a feature of a Fan Page, do you think that business utilize this well?

*FMBL is the coding language that allows all Facebook users to add additional content to their groups and pages

I think Facebook is moving away from FBML. I don’t think businesses know how to use it or utilize it well right now. Agencies and developers are usually more proficient in FBML.

Should a fan page or group be managed by a single person within a business or by multiple personalities?

It is up to the business, really. It will also depend on the number of fans you are engaging with. Sometimes it is impossible for one person to manage all of the conversations.

You should do what works for you.

There are advantages and disadvantages of each. If you have one Facebook community manager, that person know your fans in and out, knows what they like and don’t like, what content they are more responsive to and can predict their behavior and potentially questions.

If you have multiple administrators, you will have to create an editorial calendar, decide who addresses what questions and when and make sure the wall updates don’t overlap.

With that, you are also running into the issue of multiple voices; however, that can be solved by being transparent and letting your fans know that there are several people communicating with them on behalf of their brand.

In both cases signing your name at the end of the wall post might help add a more human touch.

Often you will see a business’s Facebook wall as a dumping ground for information, what are your thoughts on this?

A lot of brands haven’t fully realized that social media is not about broadcasting really. Not if you want to build relationships with your customers long-term. Lots of businesses create presence on social networks and pump fans/followers with information that flows only one way.

They don’t truly create a dialogue. And I argue that if you do this, it can hurt your brand. When you decide to establish your presence, you will need to ensure full and long-term commitment.

That means two-way dialogue and no questions/issues go unanswered.

Do you think the end is near for Facebook? If so what’s next?

I think Facebook is still young, but they are constantly innovating. With their global reach I think they’ll need to really mess it up for a big majority of people to leave.

I don’t think the end is near for Facebook.

We’ve seen it in May with the Facebook boycott and “leave the Facebook” campaign where only 30,000 people signed up to leave Facebook and we are not exactly sure whether they followed through. This definitely didn’t hurt Facebook’s monthly growth numbers.

You talk at many events related to online marketing, what is the one question you get asked the most and how do you answer it?

“What is your biggest challenge?” There isn’t just one, but scalability and standardization are especially tough. Building social media framework that would work across your global company is hard.

Creating standard set of tools and metrics is even tougher, especially with the current landscape. There are so many different tools that measure different things. Finding the right balance between what are the right standard metrics to measure across the company and how to find the tools that would do it in the integrated way is a grueling exercise.

The tools are extremely new and very fragmented; it takes a lot of manual work and multiple different tools to derive meaningful data. Short of creating your own solution (which is a long and expensive process), there isn’t a perfect solution in place right now. But hopefully soon…

What is really exciting you online at the moment?

Ref: http://www.ouragency.co.uk/blog/

Everything! Just watching this massive seismic shift toward social media happen is fascinating to me.

I am excited about the fact that consumers now have more control, that everyone can be their own publisher and can be heard.

The latest news about the new Twitter is especially exciting at the moment (see my blog post: http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/2010/10/20-ways-socially-savvy-businesses-are-using-twitter/)

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