DMS ’11: Plumbers, You Don’t Have to Tweet Every Day

During today’s social media forum at DMS ’11 a session on “social CRM” highlighted the products and insights of VendAsta CEO Brendan King and JoinHere CEO Justin Sanger.

The artist formerly known as reputation management is taking many forms as the social Web itself starts to blur at the edges. It’s also getting a heck of a lot more challenging in not only monitoring activity across a growing number of sites/networks, but also the varied use cases (tweets, check-ins, reviews, etc.).

“If you look back at reputation management when we started in ’08, Google didn’t display or collect reviews,” said King. “But the whole social world has changed a lot. Every consumer is a publisher and you can’t pick your message. … Now consumers say what your brand is. That brings out the need for reputation management.”

That’s 1.0, said King, the monitoring part. The next step is iterating on the information received to manage and build a reputation. Sanger doesn’t like the term social management though and has built his business on what he calls “social empowerment.”

“There is a lot of idealism with what SMBs are willing to do,” he said. “They are time starved. The plumber doesn’t have the wherewithal to go in there and engage.”

This is partly an education issue, providing intelligence on not only what to say but what not to say. A plumber, for example, might not be the best type of business to be Facebook posting or tweeting every day. The overall idea is to draw out the real life relationships that have existed for decades.

“We don’t believe Facebook owns the social network,” said Sanger. “They’ve existed for SMBs for a long time. …They’ve just been unorganized and untapped. Our job is to strengthen those relationships and give SMBs clues on how to engage them with purpose and discipline.”

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