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The Social Soap Box: Lady Gaga, Social Media and B2Bs

March 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm PST

I was at the Lady Gaga concert at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA last night in what initially was another routine concert outing (I average about five concerts a year) that quickly turned into my own personal tour on how Miss Gaga does social media. Even before the Oracle Arena opened its doors to her loyal fans, Gaga participated in an interactive Q&A session at Google HQ earlier which garnered approximately 40,000 questions after days it was announced via her YouTube channel.  

At the concert, the two massive digital screens displaying a  live Twitter stream of tweets from fans were expected, but to top that off, she used text messaging to raise awareness and money for her favorite charities. While on stage, she called one fan who attended the concert to personally thank him for the donation.  I even conducted my own impromptu poll with a handful of excited fans. Surprisingly however, most didn’t know she was hip on social media or followed her on Twitter or Facebook. I’m sure if I polled at least half of the concert goers, the results would differ dramatically. The numbers don’t lie. Gaga is still the most socially networked star.

Given all the coverage on Gaga’s use of social media, it’s no surprise that more celebrities are jumping on the social media band wagon to give their personal brands a major social boost.  But can the same social media playbook that helped elevate these personal brands be used for B2B brands?  To enlighten us, I turned to social media expert and blogger for ZDNet, Jennifer Leggio for her candid thoughts.

Despite Lady Gaga’s extreme physical presence, she’s maintained a level of approachability with her fans online. She treats them as if they are a part of her success, rather than merely the reasons for her success. People are fans generally because they want to feel included in something bigger than themselves and Lady Gaga gives hers an opportunity to do that by showing her true self — behind the wigs, 10-inch platforms and make-up — digitally.

I absolutely believe that B2B companies can learn from Lady Gaga and her online presence success. I think, to boil it down, companies need to stop being afraid of their customers and allow them to feel as if they are a part of the company. Despite the advances in social media over the last few years, many companies are still afraid to invite their customers in via blogs or online communities, and they don’t realize how that might alienate otherwise loyal customers. Companies, considering disclosure issues of course, should also be as open with their customers as possible. Allow their executive teams to be real – Cisco’s own Padmasree Warrior is a great example of that. This not only establishes thought leadership but also a human factor that draws in customers and partners.

- Jennifer Leggio

Well said, Jennifer! And since I rarely get to blog about music for Cisco but often share my favorite SOTD (song of the day) with friends on Facebook and Twitter,  I’ll leave you with my Gaga SOTD. Enjoy!

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The Social Soap Box: Why Mark Zuckerberg is Person of the Year

December 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm PST

Mark Zuckerberg is Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” As I read the article which talked about the growth of Facebook as being close to twice the size of the U.S. and Zuckerberg’s net worth estimated to be almost $7 billion, I started thinking about my own personal journey with the social entity. I recalled the days in 2006 when my brother who was in college at the time, kept harassing me to get on Facebook. He told me that it was a way to connect with all of my friends and that once I start, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Mind you, those were also the days of Friendster and MySpace. So as a professional who tries to maintain a healthy balance between my personal and professional life, I told him what I’m sure others who’ve been asked to join Facebook have said in the past, “I am a very private person and don’t have time to play with friends online.”

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The Social Soap Box: Wining, Dining and Blogging

December 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm PST

One of the many benefits of social media is that it creates personal connections.  As a Cisco blogger I enjoy meeting many people online, but every so often my role gives me the chance to meet interesting people face-to-face. I recently attended my first Networking Nine event titled “Blurring the Boundaries: The Future of Blogging” hosted by the San Francisco chapter of the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators). This event in particular, brought together a small group of senior communications professionals to enjoy a great dinner, fine wine and an in-depth discussion about their respective experiences on blogging.

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