Contact me!

You have questions? I have answers! Email me by clicking here.

Become a fan!

Follow me on Facebook by clicking here.

Tweet @ me!

Follow me on Twitter by clicking here and clicking the follow button.

He's mad as heck!

And he's not going to take it anymore? See what has got Mike's goat (who knew he had a goat!?!?) and checkout his infamous rants by clicking the Read More link below.

Read more

Nothing to see here!

This little guy has absolutely nothing to do with this website. The webmaster just thought he looked cool.

A Brave New World????

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Monday, 24 January 2011

 Social Media is Customer Relations . . . Not Public Relations

Jack Nicholson said it best in A Few Good Men“You can’t handle the truth!”


We can agree because we’re not one of the thousands of newly anointed social media PR experts!

But of course you are.  

After all, you have your company/personal Facebook pages.

You have your company/personal Twitter accounts.

You update your Facebook pages and Tweet constantly.

The boss has got to love you when you tell him/her Facebook just surpassed 500 M users and Twitter has 120 M+ users.

OMG you’re awesome!!!!

Of course, some things are in disarray; but hey, they are so yesterday!

Yeah, your corporate press section has a form media folks can fill in for “pretty quick” publicity assistance/information … hey 3-4 days is quick.   

Your press section has all the HTML releases, authorized images.  A few real comprehensive website press rooms even have contact names and 9-5, M-F office numbers.

Look But Don’t Touch
If a customer has a problem or is really ticked and happens to reach you begging … pleading … crying … screaming, you simply send them to customer service – in Bangladesh.

There … another great customer contact!

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted that everyone is promoting their social media marketing/communications expertise.  Or, as Forrester’s Sean Corcoran said, "You can't walk out your house without bumping into a social-media expert today.”

And the latest issue of Business Week had a great article on the hot new job … social media director.

Reading all the noise surrounding social media, you’d think it was the second coming.

Man, it’s the brave new world for individuals/agencies.

Finally, a real job you can sink your teeth into.

You have to admit the jobs discussed in the articles sound awesome … all that viral outreach … all those neat ideas for others to pick up and run with … all of the great ideas just waiting to be spread across the market, across the globe.

We Missed the Class
We always thought social media and sound relationships started with the customer…

And ended with the customer.

Most seasoned folks we know make the point that social CRM (customer relations management) and marketing/sales social media is difficult to get your arms around, difficult to integrate into your business operations.

If you don’t understand your customers/your audience, it’s tough to develop a social strategy that makes sense for your organization.

The templates the experts offer just don’t work for everyone--or anyone, for that matter.

The problem with most smoke ‘n mirror folks is they think they can control the conversation.

Hate to disillusion you but she/he owns the conversation about your company, your product/service, your support, you.

Try to control the conversation, steer/manipulate it and you lose the battle … big time.

That’s probably why in a recent social relations survey, 40 percent claimed to have a strategic policy/plan.  

The rest are … faking it!  Shooting from the hip.  Inventing as they go.

The truth is, social media isn’t overly challenging, which may be why there are so many gurus.

All you have to do is know when and how to engage with other people on social media.

Of course, it would be neat if you were productive, efficient, sold folks on your products/services, turned a really negative person around or at least quieted him/her down.

Oh sure, you may be unlucky enough to write something on your personal or business Facebook page that your boss doesn’t like, but hey … you’re the guru.

Or, you may Tweet something that irritates the C offices, HR, client but when you’re working on the edge its part of the adrenaline rush.

Company Effort, Not Yours
Management may not be certain why they need a social media expert, but they do know the social media arena is the place where they should have a presence … of some type.

Experience has also shown them that satisfied, repeat customers keep their doors open.  

They know that the best, most satisfied customers are the ones who talk up, support the company’s products/services even over the rough bumps.

If a question, problem or issue arises and people are writing all over your wall, you can’t simply pass the buck.

We know you’re a social media specialist and interacting with customer issues is a dirty little no-nothing job for customer relations specialists.  But they came to you and service/support shouldn’t have all the fun.

Your social media plans/programs/efforts should be about stimulating, driving customer loyalty.

At the end of the day, that counts more than the number of your page readers or Tweet followers.

It’s working with them…talking with them…assisting them.

Yes, real 1:1 customer support customer service.

Sometimes it just isn’t very “social!”

Just ask the people who really work with and help customers!!!


BY – G.A. “Andy” Marken, Marken Communications Inc., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 408.986-0100 – O; 408.390-0002
Hits: 1851

Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman's Jocgeek fan page at, or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek.  You can also contact him via email at  Mike's blog can also be found on the Huffington Post website at