Social Media Case Studies, Twitter Top 20 Interviews

Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community

valeria maltoni twitter 201 234x300 Valeria Maltoni   The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and CommunityValeria Maltoni is one of the most widely respected marketing voices in the world. And for good reason. Her extensive background spans marketing, public relations, and social media. If it exists in the realm of communications, she’s done it.

Valeria was also an integral nucleus of the Fast Company Company of Friends, a business intelligence and relationship development organization that in many ways presaged today’s social networking craze.

Her blog, Conversation Agent, is an absolute must-read. (Seriously, I read a ton of blogs, and hers is top 5 on the planet, in my estimation). She’s not afraid to go in-depth, challenge your thinking, and strike the match of true conversation – as you’ll see in this eye-popping, live Twitter 20 interview from July 1, 2009.

(Valeria asked in the interview for reader feedback on how blogging has changed – question 17. What do you think?)

1. @jaybaer: Your umbrella premise is that marketing & business are a long conversation. What do you mean by that?

  • @conversationage: Conversation is the most natural, effective, yet most complex mode of human connection.
  • The goal of conversation is understanding between participants. Turns out that’s the same goal of marketing and business.

2. @jaybaer: What’s the hardest part for companies to switch from talking AT customers, to talking WITH them?

  • @conversationage: Companies should let go of assumptions when listening. There’s such a thing as thinking you’re too smart.
  • It’s a challenge we have as individuals as well. Unlearning is harder than learning….

3. @jaybaer: (h/t @michaeljbarber) Do companies have to actively engage to foster conversation, or can they just listen?

  • @conversationage: Participation is content and fulfillment of intent – you’ve got to put skin in the game.

4. @jaybaer: How do you see the impact of conversation on corporate marketing operations and staffing?

  • @conversationage: Hire those who lean forward, who are curious and interested, who listen before they answer, who love learning.
  • Watch out for language like “spin” and look for honesty and ability to connect- put on hold the shiny objects/jargon-driven.

5. @jaybaer: Interesting. Do you think social media & social networking can be taught or do you have to have a passion for it?

  • @conversationage: I’m a fan of “and/and”. They need to be experienced. Unless you’re engaged (wrote it recently) you will not get engagement.

6. @jaybaer: You’re a fan of storytelling. Great conversations don’t stem from bullet points. How can brands find their story?

  • @conversationage: In the same way that money can’t buy you performance, it can’t buy you your story.
  • Need to emerge when a company looks inside and owns its own brand. Brand is not the logo, it needs to permeate every aspect of business… and take into account the feedback it receives.
  • Owning your brand also means being passionately in love with what you do.

7. @jaybaer: Little difference between media & customer. Doesn’t that put emphasis on cust service? Will it blend w/ marketing?

  • @conversationage: Customer service is marketing. Your processes are marketing. So is your receptionist, your building, your people…
  • More than blending I would say connect with it. Also, medium = context and dynamics so pay attention to who is in the room.

8. @jaybaer: Will all brands eventually have a Community Manager? Does it help the conversation to put a face on it?

  • @conversationage: How about a community facilitator, a content curator, and a team of conversationalists for product development/innovation?
  • It’s a team effort to help the organization own its brand. Think about the words: organization, company->organism, together.

9. @jaybaer: I’m glad you mentioned curation. There is SOOO much great content online now (especially in marketing), how do you curate?

  • @conversationage: Do you have a goal? What do you want reader to do? How are you going to relate to her? How will your content make him feel?
  • And of course also where are you going to fit in? How do you weave in your experience as a proof point or qualifier?

10. @jaybaer: 10 You are simply the best at building “community” on your Conversation Agent blog. Can you describe your approach?

  • @conversationage: Love to connect people – where they are. Many ways: “About You” page, comments, email intros, participating to their project.
  • Offering researched and curated content based upon their feedback also builds community – of learners (me among them)

11. @jaybaer: I don’t want to overstate this, but you’re Italian (and proud of it) icon wink Valeria Maltoni   The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community Does that change how you view community?

  • @conversationage: Made in Italy. So genetics + culture. I grew up in conversation and with community in the land of passion. Context again.

12. @jaybaer: You mentioned conversationalists for product dev. Should all companies crowd-source it? Are crowds really wise?

  • @conversationage: Hold on! Community facilitator, content curator and team of conversationalists work together. + Accountability rests with you.
  • You’ve got to know (experience) how to read the tea leaves, how to negotiate the conversation and extract useful meaning.

13. @jaybaer: Some companies are using Facebook as a primary hub to foster conversation, rather than corporate site. Thoughts?

  • @conversationage: Maybe it works for them. And when search+lifestream converge and FB opens up, then the rest of us will join in icon smile Valeria Maltoni   The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community
  • My point is be where your customers/prospects are and be coherent. Does the Web site reflect the company’s availability?

14. @jaybaer: Will social graph portability – our friends & likes following us around the Web – be good or bad for conversation?

  • @conversationage: It’ll be good for those with great memory! Integration is important to experience. 140 characters don’t make a person, only a view.
  • Seriously- conversation is the art of thinking together to find something new. It’s good to have new people/ideas in it + mix it up.

15. @jaybaer: Proliferation of social outposts is causing fatigue among people that aren’t freaks for it like you & me. Advice?

  • @conversationage: Pick your tools based on your “flow” – where do you feel energy? What suits you? Leave room to explore new places every week.
  • Explore, experiment, test, fail – within your abilities to stretch but not to the point of fatigue. Manage your attention.

16. @jaybaer: You’ve always been active in many groups and organizations. Is there a future for offline, in-person connections?

  • @conversationage: Of course! We may think we live online, but we’re very much social animals. We need to be with others in the physical space .
  • We did 98 events with the Fast Company network – in person, in the room access to great people and speakers. Best energy ever.

17. @jaybaer: Your blog is ~ 3 years old – congrats – & you wrote for Fast Company for 7 years prior. How has blogging changed?

  • @conversationage: If you count the listserv, yes 7 yrs. For the expert blog about 2 yrs.
  • Good content writing has not changed – we’ve changed.

18. @jaybaer: You’ve always been on the client side. What’s the agency’s role in conversation marketing and social media?

  • @conversationage: Coaches, sounding boards, partners, and specialists to help create the environment and context around the conversation.
  • I feature agencies in a series at my blog.

19. @jaybaer: The “Conversation Agent” brand isn’t associated much w/ your company, Sungard (unlike @scottmonty). Thoughts?

  • @conversationage: It’s a pre-existing condition icon smile Valeria Maltoni   The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community Conversation Agent comes to work every day with the full passion and knowledge/experience.
  • I believe that it’s a team and not one person that defines a company and owns a brand, so here I’m part of a team.
  • Personal brand needs to be balanced with stewardship, too. Our customer community is also part of the company’s brand.

20. @jaybaer: I’m a consultant, & I give away content & interact w/ people. But you’re not. Why do you do it? What drives you?

  • @conversationage: Love of learning, passion for helping people achieve their full potential, desire to meet different people/ideas to meet change.
  • I also view career as much broader than job. Want to meet mentors and peers and continue to grow and give growth to others.

It’s a very tough call, but I think my favorite answer from Valeria was: “Customer service is marketing. Your processes are marketing. So is your receptionist, your building, your people…” How about you?

  • http://twitter.com/ConversationAge/statuses/2426110040 ConversationAge (ConversationA

    Twitter Comment


    I think @jaybaer rocks asking those #twt20 questions, don’t you? [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/ConversationAge/statuses/2426110040 ConversationAge (ConversationAge)

    Twitter Comment


    I think @jaybaer rocks asking those #twt20 questions, don’t you? [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/djwaldow/statuses/2426141767 djwaldow (DJ Waldow)

    Twitter Comment


    RT @ConversationAge: I think @jaybaer rocks asking those #twt20 questions, don’t you? [link to post] (DJW: I think they both rock) – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/djwaldow/statuses/2426141767 djwaldow (DJ Waldow)

    Twitter Comment


    RT @ConversationAge: I think @jaybaer rocks asking those #twt20 questions, don’t you? [link to post] (DJW: I think they both rock)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/MikeCorak/statuses/2428311393 MikeCorak (MikeCorak)

    Twitter Comment


    Maybe my favorite @jaybaer #twt20 with @conversationage. Conversation and Community, branders, this one’s for you-[link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/MikeCorak/statuses/2428311393 MikeCorak (MikeCorak)

    Twitter Comment


    Maybe my favorite @jaybaer #twt20 with @conversationage. Conversation and Community, branders, this one’s for you-[link to post]

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  • http://twitter.com/twitB4U/statuses/2428387140 twitB4U (Bruce)

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    Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and …: Valeria was also an integral nucleus of the .. [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/twitB4U/statuses/2428387140 twitB4U (Bruce)

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    Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and …: Valeria was also an integral nucleus of the .. [link to post]

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  • http://www.mariareyesmcdavis.com/ Maria Reyes-McDavis

    Jason, I absolutely agree with you on your estimation of Valeria’s blog. It is one of the few (total of 4) that I read religiously — I even have a special folder on my Blackberry to read when I’m on the go. There is always thought provoking posts that challenge me to think far, far, far outside of the fishbowl we often see online. This interview is yet another example of the incredible insight Valeria offers! I love these interviews you do :-)
    .-= Maria Reyes-McDavis´s last blog ..Twazzup Made Me Forget Twitter Search =-.

  • http://www.mariareyesmcdavis.com Maria Reyes-McDavis

    Jason, I absolutely agree with you on your estimation of Valeria’s blog. It is one of the few (total of 4) that I read religiously — I even have a special folder on my Blackberry to read when I’m on the go. There is always thought provoking posts that challenge me to think far, far, far outside of the fishbowl we often see online. This interview is yet another example of the incredible insight Valeria offers! I love these interviews you do :-)
    .-= Maria Reyes-McDavis´s last blog ..Twazzup Made Me Forget Twitter Search =-.

  • DJ Waldow

    RT @ConversationAge: I think @jaybaer rocks asking those #twt20 questions, don’t you? http://idek.net/HeJ (DJW: I think they both rock)

  • http://twitter.com/kenburbary/statuses/2432102047 kenburbary (Ken Burbary)

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    Reading: Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community – [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/kenburbary/statuses/2432102047 kenburbary (Ken Burbary)

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    Reading: Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community – [link to post]

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    Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community | Twitter 20 – Interviews on Twitter |… [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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  • http://twitter.com/STUARTFOSTER/statuses/2444280421 STUARTFOSTER (Stuart Foster)

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  • http://www.conversationagent.com/ Valeria Maltoni

    Thank you for the interview, Jay. It was fun! Thank you all for the retweets.

    @maria – you’re very kind and always generous in the way you share content and knowledge with your readers. Thank you.
    .-= Valeria Maltoni´s last blog ..Right Place, Right Time – Free =-.

  • http://www.conversationagent.com Valeria Maltoni

    Thank you for the interview, Jay. It was fun! Thank you all for the retweets.

    @maria – you’re very kind and always generous in the way you share content and knowledge with your readers. Thank you.
    .-= Valeria Maltoni´s last blog ..Right Place, Right Time – Free =-.

  • http://twitter.com/fruchter/status/2445918896 Mike Fruchter

    Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community http://ff.im/-4JA2A

  • http://twitter.com/konterfai_rss/status/2446239802 Monsignore Pierro M.

    Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community http://twurl.nl/pgwdc7

  • http://twitter.com/stephensmyth/status/2446946427 Stephen Smyth

    Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community | Twitter 20 – Interviews on Twitter |… http://ff.im/-4JFMk

  • http://johnharveyirwin.wordpress.com/ John Harvey Irwin

    #4 resonates deep with me. I hope company’s start to “hear” this advice. ‘Hire those who lean forward, who are curious and interested, who listen before they answer, who love learning.’

    Thanks @ConversationAge and @jaybaer!!

    John Harvey Irwin
    .-= John Harvey Irwin´s last blog ..Optimized Content a Struggle for B2B Websites =-.

  • http://johnharveyirwin.wordpress.com/ John Harvey Irwin

    #4 resonates deep with me. I hope company’s start to “hear” this advice. ‘Hire those who lean forward, who are curious and interested, who listen before they answer, who love learning.’

    Thanks @ConversationAge and @jaybaer!!

    John Harvey Irwin
    .-= John Harvey Irwin´s last blog ..Optimized Content a Struggle for B2B Websites =-.

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  • http://twitter.com/rtdesign/status/2469536439 Reza Tehranian

    RT @tweetmeme Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation & Community http://cli.gs/1nBpH

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  • http://twitter.com/mmidas/status/2483024200 Mario Midas

    “Valeria Maltoni – The Twitter 20 Interview on Conversation and Community” @conversationage on @jaybaer http://bit.ly/wluqb

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  • http://twitter.com/treypennington/status/2903292086 Trey Pennington

    Good concept/content idea from @jaybaer http://TwitPWR.com/ncl/ (also good interview with @conversationagent)

  • http://twitter.com/twextme/status/3296913953 Zeek Interactive

    Excellent Twitter 20 with Valeria Maltoni – http://ow.ly/jY8f from @jaybaer

  • http://twitter.com/kimwood/status/3297821560 Kim Wood

    RT @respres: RT @twextme Excellent Twitter 20 with Valeria Maltoni (aka @ConversationAge) – http://ow.ly/jY8f from @jaybaer

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  • http://twitter.com/cguerini/status/4638564872 Charles Guerini

    Excellent twitter interview from @jaybaer : @conversationage, on companies public conversation. http://digg.com/u1DiRz (july 1)

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