Social Media is not for kids SPJ / LA learns at 35th annual awards dinner

Sasha Strauss, Social Media Expert

“Social media is not for kids,” Sasha Strauss, social media and brand expert and keynote speaker told the 35th Annual Awards banquet last night (April 7, 2011) of Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ /LA). “I want to talk to you tonight about your customers, the people who read your content in the newspaper, on the air in radio or TV News,” he said. “You need to listen before you engage in Social Media, you don’t need to take out a company Facebook home page, besides that picture probably doesn’t even look like you, and your profile has been written by someone else. The best advice is to listen to what people are saying for two weeks. After that time you will know how to talk to your customers,” explained Strauss. Before the awards event, he told this writer that journalists need to get engaged into social media. Everyone under 20 doesn’t know life before social media, so this is how they grew up getting information. Google was just recently beat by Facebook showing they are the number one place people conduct inquiries for information. That means something, that they trust people they follow for guidance and information. You as journalists need to know that we trust you. When we gain that information, we’ll be your number one advocate. The best advice is to listen to what people are saying for two weeks. After that time you will know how to talk to your customers,” explained Strauss. Strauss talked about the profound impact social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are having on the news business today. “Don’t think of how you can make money with social media, think of it as a tool for sales, a tool for learning, a tool for understanding,” he explained.

Associated PressLinda Deutsch, legal affairs correspondent with George Mc Quade at SPJ/LA Awards event.

“The better you know your product, what your customers are saying is when you will make money on social media.” Strauss, managing director at Innovation Protocol, a brand strategy consulting firm, has presented forums throughout East Asia, Europe and North America. He has been interviewed by National Public Radio, KNX/CBS Radio and The Wall Street Journal about branding everything from presidential candidates to innovate start-ups and Fortune 500s. Strauss also said don’t put personal stuff on your Facebook pages. “The one’s you have to be fearful of are the ones who are quite and private, not the ones who are public,” he said. When asked why a YouTube by 13 year old Rebbecca Black video entitled “Fridays” which was criticized and labed the worst video of the year became an overnight Sensation with 2.5 million viewers the first day, 65 million last week, and as of this writing 89 million plus viewers he said, “It’s because the funny people got into social media before anyone else and provided the channel everyone wanted to see.”

Strauss says he spends 20 percent his time on social media. “But I am not socializing. I’m learning about the human, the competitors, the messaging, texting and finding out who people trust, the way people think before I give my clients any advice.”
Strauss is also an adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication, where he teaches graduate brand strategy.

Five local journalists will be honored at the event, which will be held at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles. The Distinguished Journalist honorees are Ralph Vartabedian, national correspondent at the Los Angeles Times; Dennis Anderson, editor, Antelope Valley Press; Conan Nolan, political reporter for NBC4 Los Angeles and host of “News Conference,” and Larry Mantle, host of “Larry Mantle’s AirTalk” on 89.3 KPCC, Southern California Public Radio. Robert Scheer, columnist and editor-in-chief of the current events website, Truthdig.com, is the recipient of the chapter’s Distinguished Work in New Media Award.
For image highlights of the 35th Annual Awards dinner
visit www.MayoCommunications.com under “News & Events. “

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