Jul 13, 2009 Comments
This past week, I took a trip to Costa Rica with a few friends including Rahmin Sarabi, founder of unclasses.com, James Gross, VP at Federated Media, and Matt Jessell, Stategic Programs Manager at Federated Media.
With collectively over 15 years of web experience, most of our conversations were centered around how the web is changing media, consumer behavior, and our daily interaction – typical for a group of web guys on a vacation. Sorry, no bikini girls taking body shot stories here.
But in the context of a third-world country, heavily influenced by the US recession, the web seemed more relevant than ever.
It has become an equalizer; a channel of communication to connect and broadcast to anyone and everyone around a topic in real-time.
Before the leaving for the trip, James had connected with the founder of SurfingNosara.com, Erik Antonson. Erik has been experimenting with social media as a distribution and communication channel and wanted to meet with us to “get advice and talk strategy”.
What came next was a surprise. In an hour conversation with Erik, I realized that I had very little to offer. The specific strategies in using Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, Blogs, Video, and other social media mediums are elementary. The technology is simple and the additional tools such as Twollow, TwitterHawk, Involver, etc can be found in online resource guides.
So how is it that a group of web dudes from San Francisco couldn’t give Erik a more concrete social media strategy?
Because he got it. Living in Costa Rica, thousands of miles from any technology hubs and in the middle of the jungle, he got it. He may not have the best SEO or SEM strategy, or may not be utilizing the best tools to scale his consumer engagement, but understood the foundation the social web was built on.
He knew to:
1) Focus on relevant and real-time content.
Erik posts regularly with interesting and engaging content. No automated content rss fed content from an api of twitter search with geotagged stories from ghost bloggers (I think I got most of the bs terms used). It’s real content from him and his crew.
2) Be authentic.
He’s not going to pretend to be a brand, or hide behind a logo. He is the founder, owner, the company, and a person you can ask questions and talk to.
3) Be passionate about what he is doing.
Erik is a realtor. But he actually cares about what he is doing, and it is easy to recognize that. It is apparent from in his posts, his videos, and the community he has built.
4) Use marketing channels as means to communicate, not sell.
He understood that these mediums are a means to communicate and engage around conversation. He actually cared about your experience, the relationship, and building an online community around Nosara. He makes it nontransactional. (Yes, he’s a realtor and yes, this is possible)
5) Make decisions as if he was 16.
He thinks about his life and his company as if he were a young, optimistic adolescent. He makes it fun, appreciates the process, and in the end, is doing more of what he enjoys. Why does this matter? Because making an extra dollar is not the end goal.
Again, the web has become as equalizer. Understanding the trends, tools, and fundamentals of the social web are no longer restrictive to those in the microcosm of San Francisco geekness. All too often we associate “living in San Francisco” with technological know-how. Sure, the entire globe isn’t using FourSquares or Vark, but Erik started with a solid foundation of focusing on content, his relationships, and his passion; and with these principles in mind, he is going to crush it.
Check out his shiznits at SurfingNosara.com.