Jason Falls – The Twitter 20 Interview about Social Media and Public Relations

Featuring Jason Falls, the head of social media at branding agency Doe-Anderson, author of the Social Media Explorer blog, and all-around social media nice guy genius. Jason submitted himself to the rigors of the Twitter 20 interview (20 questions live on Twitter) on November 14, 2008. Excellent questions and comments from viewers throughout, too. Thanks to everyone who participated.

(photo by Shashi Bellamkonda)

From Jason Falls’ Keyboard to You: Interview Transcript

1. @jaybaer: How do you describe your role at Doe-Anderson (branding agency in Louisville)?

  • @jasonfalls: I advise our clients on social media strategy and educate them on using social media tools to communicate more effectively.

2. @jaybaer: How does your social media department intersect and interact with other parts of the agency?

  • @jasonfalls: We are integrated within the interactive department but with a strong tie to PR. However, Doe-Anderson cross trains and pollinates.

3. @jaybaer: You’ve expanded the team over time. What do you look for in a social media professional? Conversation ability? Tech skills?

  • @jasonfalls: You can’t be strong in social media programming and strategy without strong writing and conversation skills. Tech can be taught.

4. @jaybaer:(? from @geekmommy) Louisville doesn’t leap to mind re: social media/tech hotbeds. Easier or harder doing in from there?

  • @jasonfalls: @geekmommy is just jealous she doesn’t live in Silicon Holler. The Internet dissolves geographic barriers. I do what I do anywhere. 
  • @jasonfalls: And Louisville/Kentucky is responsible for @peterkim @mattcutts @pearsonified Drew Curtis, @robmay Profilactic, etc., etc., 

5. @jaybaer: What type of reporting and metrics do you focus on with your social media programs? Do you sync with interactive analytics?

  • @jasonfalls: We do sync with interactive analytics but try hard to set expectations to match the goals. Reach, relationships, conversations.

6. @jaybaer: Lots of discussion around where social media belongs. PR, marketing, customer service, etc. What’s your opinion?

  • @jasonfalls: Social media is an extension of good public relations, but should be a company-wide approach PR helps manage and facilitate

7. @jaybaer: Some say “listening” is an agency function, but “engaging” needs to be done by the client. Can the agency be the voice in SM?

  • @jasonfalls: Tough one. Depends on the client. If they can’t communicate well, then Dear Lord, don’t let them do it. 

8. @jaybaer: What do you say to clients that are afraid of really communicating via SM, and ONLY want to listen? How do you conquer fear?

  • @jasonfalls: The best way is to prove it to them – find a negative conversation and correct it. Show them how to turn the tide. Proof works.

9. @jaybaer: What’s missing then from most corporate social media programs you see today? What makes you say d’oh!

  • @jasonfalls: Strategic thinking. they just throw “viral” crap out there and call it social media. GTive your fans something to talk about, do.

10. @jaybaer: I hear you there re: lack of strategy. Conversely, what’s the most overrated aspect of SM today? 

  • @jasonfalls: Most overrated aspect is No. of followers. If you can’t get them to do anything, then what good are they…or what good are you?

11. @jaybaer: Do you advocate distinctly different outreach methodologies for bloggers and traditional journalists?

  • @jasonfalls: Absolutely NOT. Problem with most PR is they’ve been reaching out to traditional media wrong. Bloggers are teaching us that.

12. @jaybaer: Very interesting. You’re saying treat journalists like bloggers, not the other way around? Relevant, focused pitching, etc.?

  • @jasonfalls: Damn straight. Key to blogger outreach is relationships, same as traditional media. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

13. @jaybaer: Best examples of programs you’re really proud of? http://www.thestuffinside.com is legendary work. Others?

  • @jasonfalls: Wish others thought so (StuffInside). A lot of my good work is internal coms. But the Beam Baja Twitter Tracker was good thinking. 

14. @jaybaer: Were you a bourbon guy before coming to Doe-Anderson and Kentucky, or is that just an occupationally-acquired taste?

  • @jasonfalls: I’ve been a bourbon guy for a while. Raised in Kentucky. My father introduced me to Elijah Craig about 10 years ago. 

15. @jaybaer: A toast to you, sir. How did you gravitate from sports communications to PR and social media at an agency?

  • @jasonfalls: I’m schitzophrenic. Heh. I’m a communicator. It doesn’t matter what about. Do your homework, build relationships, talk. 

16. @jaybaer: How does the agency world compare to client side marketing (or university side in your case)? Resources? Pace? Juggling?

  • @jasonfalls: Agency life puts you behind the 8-ball for multiple clients at a time. It’s mind-boggling how much is expected. Not enough hrs. in a day.

17. @jaybaer: You did a lot of work in the education arena previously. What do you see from .edu in SM? How can they do it right?

  • @jasonfalls: Education and social media? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. They’re so anal about “protecting” students I’m shocked they have Websites.
  • @jasonfalls: Of course, I worked in college athletics. The NCAA is the biggest censor and fascist regime on the planet. SM and NCAA? Nope.

18. @jaybaer: You mentioned your kids (2 for me as well). Social media take a ton of time – often unpaid. How do you balance it all?

  • @jasonfalls: I’ve gotta pretty damn cool, hardworking and tolerant wife, first of all. But you just have to put it down.
  • @jasonfalls: I go dark some weekends and evenings until 8 p.m. because my kids come first. It’s not easy, but I don’t need to be big on Digg.

19. @jaybaer: Can you tell us a bit about http://www.twit2fit.com your social media wellness community?

  • @jasonfalls: Twit2Fit started as a lark and is now motivating and supporting over 200 on the Ning site, countless others here.

20. @jaybaer: Last one. What’s your summary 140 character advice for social media success?

  • @jasonfalls: Produce good content, treat people with respect, understand what goes around comes around and grow your network off-line, too.

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