Elsewhere are a series of shorter posts, linking to (parts of) content on other sites I'm reading. You can find more of my Elsewhere posts here. This video comes from Lee Aase's great SMUG (social media university global) site. In his post, Lee speaks about the value of Facebook's twitter-like @ feature to mention other friends in a post. What caught my eye was this great video from Microsoft (I know, right?). In the video, a consumer breaks up with an advertiser because they don't talk to each other. Pretty effective analogy huh?

Us newfangled social web zealots often talk about the importance of "bringing value" to others via the work we do. We talk about the need for a two-way dialogue. Holding a mirror up to traditional advertising is a nice way of focusing on what that jargon really means. I'm not interested in being advertised to; If you want to influence my consumer habits, you need to bring me value. It doesn't have to be hard.

Today, I tweeted two two companies from whom I ordered Christmas presents. Both flaunt their twitter profiles on their mass emailing and websites. Neither has tweeted more recently than October. I told both how excited I was for their product to arrive. Having that conversation would have been valuable for me - thats all it would take - a simple reply back. Given their twitter history, series of tweets pushing links to their products, I'm not expecting a reply. I am also not surprised that both seem to have given up, probably deciding the platform is ineffective and a waste of efforts.  30 seconds on their part would solidify a relationship with me in a much more meaningful way than the mass-blast email spam I get from them. So which is more effective?

There are countless other examples of bringing value to the relationship including giving creative ideas for using a product, shipping tracking, customer service resolution, etc. In healthcare (hey, its what I know), it is pretty simple. Help connect people to care. That is really all it takes. If you focus on that simple mantra, you are assured of success. Someone needs a doctor? Help them get care. Someone had a customer service issue? Help care for that issue. Share your expertise as a provider, health tips, and cutting edge news. Those things add value and they help people find the right kind of care. By the way, all of those examples require talking to someone rather than pushing ads at them.

So the next time you se and advertisement for something, ask yourself - 'what value are they providing'? Is my day made more productive or otherwise better because your widget now gets out grass stains, gets an estimated 19 MPG, is the lightest beer this side of water or never needs sharpening? But wait, there's more...